Happy Thanksgiving!

Plymouth Rock

Take a moment to be thankful.

For your job, your friends, that you have food to eat and a place to sleep, for the air we breathe and the freedom we have. Be thankful.

The North American holiday of Thanksgiving was born of tragedy. The Mayflower, filled with settlers from England, docked in Plymouth, Massachusetts in December 1620. Of the 102 passengers and around 30 crew on board, only five women of eighteen survived the winter, and around half the men and crew.

The following spring, the Wampanoag, a native people, taught the incomers which crops were endemic to the New World, and how to fertilise their crops with fish.

This act of good will let to a plentiful harvest, and gave the Pilgrims hope that they might survive the next winter.

I have celebrated Thanksgivings here for many years, and also in Japan and Austria. My memories of American Thanksgivings as a child circle around the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade being on TV while I helped my mother prepare food for a 2pm ‘dinner’.

Many of the foods that make up a Thanksgiving meal are linked to that first harvest 3-day feast that early settlers shared with the Wampanoag – sweet corn, wild turkey, pumpkin and beans. Today, the Thanksgiving feast is a central part of celebrations.

But the real depth of Thanksgiving is found in relationships. Millions of Americans travel from one state to another, or even across the continent, to go home for Thanksgiving. The day is a time for family, for friends, for being together and being grateful those relationships exist.

So whatever you are doing today, be thankful. And if you are able to, spend a little extra time with those near and dear to you. Happy Thanksgiving!

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This entry was posted in LDVUSA and Op-eds.


  • Yeovil Yokel 23rd Nov '17 - 8:11am

    Why is Thanksgiving celebrated on 23 November?

  • Are those “native peoples” the same ones the “settlers” then slaughtered and drove the survivors into reservations?

  • Holly Matthies 23rd Nov '17 - 8:46am

    It’s not North American: Canadians have Thanksgiving in October.

  • If I was an American citizen whose health care was about to be abandoned by a loud mouthed intellectually challenged President I’m not sure I’d have much to be thankful for.

  • Kirsten johnson 23rd Nov '17 - 9:11am

    Yes, the Canadians celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.

    American Thanksgiving was set as the 4th Thursday in November by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 when he signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday.

  • Thank you for this welcome reminder, Kirsten. It’s nice to take some time out of a busy day to remember the important things in life and the struggles of emigrants from these shores in times past.

  • Thank you for this article. We too will be celebrating Thanksgiving. Our daughter was born in Minnesota last year. We are now back in the UK but we made so many friends in the US and now have an American in the family. Thanksgiving will now become a firm date in our calendar.

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