The Many Ways of Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving is nearly here, and what better time to be giving thanks?

At this time of year we Americans get to spend time feasting with family, giving thanks and often watching parades and football. There are so many ways of giving thanks, and our own Thanksgiving holiday was first made a holiday by the state of New York in 1817. We can all give thanks to Sarah Hale for her 36 years of articles and letters to various government functionaries that caused Abraham Lincoln to make a proclamation marking the last Thursday of November the official day of Thanksgiving.

Who does not thank for little will not thank for much. ~Estonian Proverb

A day (or three) to give thanks did not start with the pilgrims or even America. Humans have been setting aside time to give thanks for all of recorded history. The Egyptians honored Min, their God of fertility and vegetation, every spring. The Greeks honored Demeter with the festival of Thesmosphoria every year and her  Roman version was honored with the feast of Cerelia. Moon cakes are part of the harvest season August Moon festival in Vietnam and China. Africa has many harvest festivals, they are often celebrated with masks and dance. Native American’s had their own celebrations of bountiful harvest long before the first colonizers arrived.

With arms outstretched I thank. With heart beating gratefully I love. With body in health I jump for joy. With spirit full I live. ~Terri Guillemets

Small family feasts are the norm in my family. We like to watch parades, but none of us are big football fans. All the dishes I prepare have herbal goodness in them. Even the turkey! I slip bay leaves and other herbs between the skin and the meat. Stuffing is oh-so-tasty with the addition of thyme. Paprika on deviled eggs, oregano in with the green beans. I enjoy the fun of slipping herbs in and they help with the indigestion that often follows with the over indulgence of Thanksgiving. We also have another little tradition in our family. We keep a candle lit remind us to be thankful for all the soldiers, suffragettes, activists, and idealists that have enabled us to have such great lives.

Do not take anything for granted — not one smile or one person or one rainbow or one breath, or one night in your cozy bed.       ~Terri Guillemets

Being thankful is an attitude I try to cultivate year round. I don’t always feel it, sometimes the dog eats my daughter’s cell phone and gratitude is certainly not what I feel right then. Feeling thankful for all the little things that go right, or are perceived as a wrong yet turn out even better; that is important to our wellness. In the morning when you wake up go look at the sky. Try being thankful for the beauty of the morning sky. When you take that first sip of coffee, feel gratitude for the fact that you can have coffee this morning.

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