May All Your Turkeys be Stuffed (or Happy Thanksgiving)

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in more countries than the United States. Maybe you didn’t realize that.

In Leiden, in the Netherlands where the Pilgrims of the Mayflower lived, worked and worshipped for 11 years prior to taking to the sea, Thanksgiving was and still is celebrated to mark the end of the 1574 Spanish Catholic siege. The celebration of Thanksgiving was one of many traditions the Pilgrims brought with them to the Americas.

Thanksgiving (Canadian French: Jour de l’Action de grâce) in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday of October and coincides with Columbus Day in the US. There it is an annual holiday to mark the close of the harvest season and to give thanks.

In Grenada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on October 25th to mark the 1983 invasion by military forces made up of troops from Jamaica and members of the Regional Security System and led by the US Military.

It is thought that the traditional origin of Thanksgiving in the US is the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in Massachusetts, in 1621. The Wampanoag Native Americans helped the pilgrims who arrived in Massachusetts cultivate the land and fish, saving them from starvation. The Wampanoag were represented at this Thanksgiving where it is thought the Pilgrims gave thanks not only for a successful harvest but also for the gracious help of the Native American tribe.

For as long as I can remember, Thanksgiving in America meant not only remembering those who braved the seas on the Mayflower but also college football games and the Macy’s parade (NYC) which since 1924 has marked not only Thanksgiving but the start of the Christmas build-up with the appearance of Santa Claus, the Gimbels parade (Philadelphia) which originated in 1920 and is now known as the 6abc-IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade and I believe there was also a televised parade based in Detroit.

Now, I do not live in the United States. I do not cook a turkey nor park on my couch to watch parades. It is not that Thanksgiving Day has no meaning any more. It is simply that after surviving cancer, I give thanks EVERY day, not just on some designated holiday. Think about it … don’t you have a reason to be thankful for every day of your life?

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