singing my thankful song...eventually
I find Thanksgiving--this weird holiday that we as United State-ians celebrate each November--to be a time where I bounce between being thankful for the many blessings in my life and then being really disgusted with our culture. Thanksgiving winds up being (for some people) less about getting together for a good meal with their families, instead becoming a day to be hungover the day after the biggest bar night of the year; dread being with family; overeating; and planning the next days shopping binge to get those fabulous 5am deals. I used to partake in all of these things at one point in my life, so I guess I am not throwing the stone at the glass house, but GEEZ don't people find Thanksgiving to be a bizarre holiday? Every couple of years I try and read some history on Thanksgiving's origins, so thought I would share--found some info about Thanksgiving, football and parades online.
- In 1621, the colonists at Plymouth and the Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast which is the basis for today's Thanksgiving. According to Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation, "Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America...The most detailed description of the "First Thanksgiving" comes from Edward Winslow from A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, in 1621:
"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed upon our governor, and upon the captain, and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."
- Later generations still celebrated days of fasting and prayer leading up to days of thanksgiving which eventually celebrated things like good harvest, victory in battles (govenors declared which day it would be).
- In 1777 the 13 Colonies were decreed to celebrate a day of Thanksgiving in commemoration of a victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga.
- 1863, Lincoln decrees last Thursday of November will be Thanksgiving (spurred on by Sarah Josefa Hale's letter writing campaign. She believed that a national day of Thanksgiving could unify the country.)
- In 1920s NFL was formed; to boost attendance Detroit Lions started Thanksgiving Game: Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions; NBC radio hosted first NFL broadcast; became tradition after that.
- Parades became tradition too, department stores saw this as an opportunity to kick off for shopping season.
I would like to think that the way that we celebrate at the Farm is a little like the first Thanksgiving; tons of people (some of who don't know those sitting around them) sharing a meal and being thankful for the work we do and the community which we share. At the end of the meal members of the community read "blessings," things we are thankful for, which people have written down the week leading up to the meal.
We had about 134 people in attendance at our meal yesterday, and yet it felt intimate. I sat with my cousin Jessi (visiting from NYC), TSO, Amos & CJ, B1&B2, M&N and M&S, Mummy Dearest & Hubby and Big & Lil Fish, JennaBean, KellyBelly, and RugbyGirl; so many dear friends to share the meal with. It was a quiet meal, as the amazing food: turkey, gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, Farm squash with basil, sage stuffing, cranberry sauce, quinoa with walnuts, salad, rolls and butter, Farm applesauce and Farm cider kept us busy; passing dishes around, serving one another. The Farm's Thanksgiving is what I always had in mind for the holiday when I was a child. I love it.
So, this blog, which started out a moody diatribe on our cultures sometimes glutinous appetite for overeating and over spending has left me...well...thankful.
- Thankful for my family.
- Thankful for my friends.
- Thankful for a Community which I love.
- Thankful for a job I love, challenging work and making a difference, albeit small.
- Thankful for the seasons changing, the laughter of children, being taken care of body, soul and spirit.
Life is good. Happy Thanksgiving!