“Setting aside time to give thanks for one’s blessings, along with holding feasts to celebrate a harvest, are both practices that long predate the European settlement of North America.”
We don’t have Thanksgiving Day here in the UK. So it has always seemed an odd celebration to me. One in which God and Mammon are confused as usual.
“Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the date was changed to the fourth Thursday in November, an innovation that endures to this day. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader fall/winter holiday season in the U.S.”
Mostly what I hear and see is Mammon.
Food a-plenty – tables weighed down with precision tradition dishes, families gathered and looking joyful, and parades and sport – loads of parades and sport. And thankfulness. Otherwise it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving Day.
And like all good traditions with Federal endorsement, the day of holiday begets a season of holiday.
“The day after Thanksgiving is a holiday for some companies and most schools. In the last two decades of the 20th century, it became known as Black Friday, the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and a day for chaotic, early-morning sales at major retailers that were closed on Thanksgiving. A contrasting movement known as Buy Nothing Day originated in Canada in 1992. The day after Thanksgiving is also Native American Heritage Day, a day to pay tribute to Native Americans for their many contributions to the United States.
Small Business Saturday, a movement promoting shopping at smaller local establishments, takes place on the last Saturday in November, two days after Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday is a nickname given to the Monday following Thanksgiving; the day evolved in the early days of the Internet, when consumers returning to work took advantage of their employers’ broadband Internet connections to do online shopping and retailers began offering sales to meet the demand. Giving Tuesday takes place on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving.”
I was talking to a taxi-driver about Christmas recently. He saw no reason for presents and all that spending just because it was Christmas.
Any giving shouldn’t be counted in £s. Gifts are so much more than that. Gifts can be found with thought and love rather than obligation (and this year’s financial formula). And we have family who say “presents are bad”. Yet even they have desires – and knowing those desires … what we get is not “gifting” but “loving” … Loving them individually for who they are and what they believe (and those “gifts” are always received with sincere thanks and genuine love).
Your Thanksgiving Day is a broad-brush institution – a mish-mash (as all good traditions are). And different elements of our multi-cultural-global-always-on society (with history) can always find good reason for offence. Just as others find offence at the offended.
My preference is to find a reason to celebrate humanity in all its (unfair) shapes and sizes. To be more humane and loving to (self and) others. And because we are each different (as well as the same) – that will be evidenced in many different (and personal) ways not reported (and not institutionalised).
We may have made God a confusion of “God and Mammon”. We may have shoe-horned a “one size fits all” Thanksgiving Day. We can find reason to be offended and to take offence at the offended.
But that says more about each of us than it does either God or Mammon.
Happy Thanksgiving Day from one who still doesn’t really “get it”.