Thanksgiving Day Explained

Thanksgiving. A national, cultural day of feast, friends, football, and naps. More recently, young, familyless millennials have adopted and gathered under the banner of “Friednsgiving,” for those living on their own who want impossible amounts of food on Thursday also.

So, whether you live in Argentina, New Zealand, India, or Iceland, you most likely know what the Amercian tradition of Thanksgiving is. If you live in any of these countries: (Australia, Canada, Grenada, Liberia, Netherlands, Philippines, Saint Lucia) You even observe some form of Thanksgiving.

Here is a short catch up to the past 479 years…or so. Ahem…

The idea of days of Thanksgiving started when Henry the 8th tried to get rid of LOADS of Christian holidays. There were like WAY TOO many. Some Puritans even wanted to get rid of Christmas and Easter! Pshhh, Can you imagine?!  These days were to be replaced by Days of Fasting, or Days of Thanksgiving.

SO…Then some Pilgrims and Puritans were like, “Okay, we’re out,” and left England. They sailed to the new land and lost a bunch of people from seasickness or something. It all began as a day of giving thanks as observed decades ago in England. The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced to a to a well-recorded 1619 event in Virginia and a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth. Pilgrims would give thanks to a new land, blessing the harvest, and blessing the preceding year.

We gathered on a giant wooden table and even had the ethnic looking neighbors over! Uncle Rick kept making racist jokes about Indians and kept getting political about James the 6th, ugh. The. Worst. We had tons of food that we cooked all on our own and recieved no help from the locals whatsoever.

Though this was the first recorded Thanksgiving, the feast did not become a tradition until about the late 1660’s. Much later, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”

Well, there you have it. Thanksgiving. We know and love it well. Whether it’s because it signals for you the start of something truly great…CHRISTMAS!!! Or because you are really looking forward to Aunt Sharon’s Green Bean Caserole….[drool face emoji], or because you get the chance to dust off those cleats and mediocre football skills at the annual Turkey Bowl game….whatever the reason, Thanksgiving holds a place in your heart that is near, dear, and nostalgic.

I find the holiday interesting, as I do with a lot of holidays that I have written about on here in the past, that we wait for moments like a holiday to do what we should have been doing all year long. What do I mean? So glad you asked. Christmas: a season of giving and caring about more than just yourself–Great, let’s do that after Christmas too. New Years: Making goals for yourself–Let’s keep that up afterward too. Thanksgiving: Remembering how much we have to be thankful for–Proceeded almost immediately by trampling soccer moms and buying as much as we possibly can. The holidays make me think about stuff like that and sometimes causes me to reflect on how I’m doing.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays. Mainly because of how I was raised. We used to have LARGE family gatherings at my mom’s house or my aunt’s house. We would eat food, watch football, play games, eat dessert, and then certain men would retreat to a dining room and play a board game for like 4 hours. They were good memories. Then our families became too large, people moved, new traditions were made, things changed. We knew it would happen. And to be honest, I still carry those holidays with me. I carry them into every holiday gathering I go to. Because what I loved most about those gatherings were the people. A warm house, good smells, laughter, noise, and love. I realize as I age, that I take those key ingredients with me in everything that I do.

When these holidays become more than the people who are in them, when we forget the ingredients that make up the important things in life, we forget the heart…Community. People. Tradition. Memories. Heritage. We need to pass these down so that the next kid running around the house will see the full home, smell the stuffing, hear the laughter, and feel the love…and they will carry those ingredients on with them.

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A Many Father’s Day

Sunday is Father’s Day. A day we celebrate Father’s of all kinds. The Soccer Dad’s, the science fair Dad’s, the teaching Dad’s, and the “there for you” Dad’s. Father’s Day isn’t always easy because of divided homes. I see that more now in my job as a counselor than I feel I ever did. Like many holiday’s, Father’s Day can be pretty difficult when brokenness enters the picture. I get that. It’s hard for me to change that perspective once I’ve been exposed to it, even when I haven’t experienced it. I can’t have empathy in that sense, but I have sympathy. Continue reading “A Many Father’s Day”

Mother of the Year

Today, I am grateful for my Mother, Sharon Peterson. I have written quite a few posts on my blog about my mother, as referenced (1, 2, 3, 4, 5). You might say that she is in the top ten things featured in my writing. Pretty important person you might say. Both would be pretty true. She’s kind of a big deal. There are a lot of clichés out there, “my mom is better than your mom,” or, “the best mom of ALL THE MOMS!” And while these are true about my mom, they kind of fall short. Continue reading “Mother of the Year”

30: Or, Why I’m Not Freaking Out

No. This is not a “30 things I noticed once turning 30,” post, or even a, “God, I’m 30, but I still don’t have babies,” post. It’s definitely not a, “I’m 30 and I feel myself rotting,” post.

I’m turning 30 in a few days. No longer having “twenty” as an identity is a bit odd…now that I’m sitting in this comfortable leather chair and thinking about my greater existence. Haha, turning thirty for me is not as much of a deal as some. If you’re a fan of the TV show Friends, you know what I’m talking about. They devote the entire episode to remembering each of group turning thirty years old. Rachel is freaking out about getting “old,” and they recall their previous milestones at thirty. I just don’t feel the same. I guess I’m similar to my dad in this respect. It’s another year, and you won’t feel much different afterwards. Now, this gets a little less true the closer you get to 40, 50, 60, and 70. As for me, I’m still young, not old. Continue reading “30: Or, Why I’m Not Freaking Out”

The Social Store-front Window, Wall, and Secret Garden.

It’s been two months. Last time I wrote, I had just started a new job, and the state of Colorado was becoming more and more like a home for me. Back to my old ways, sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on what recently to me has become the nectar of the angels, I am feeling more and more at home. You’ll know when I become more comfortable in a place when I make time for my favorite activity: writing. On this site, as most of you know, I make time for the things that cross my path and cause me to pause, that deeply interest me, that puzzle me, and that move me. Also, you’ll tend to find out whats going on in my life every once and a while. Continue reading “The Social Store-front Window, Wall, and Secret Garden.”