Archive for November 24th, 2011

Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.  –  E.P. Powell

Today is Thanksgiving Day here in the United States; as I said in my column of one year ago tomorrow, Thanksgiving is…

…a day originally established (as the name attests) to give thanks for what we have.  It is essentially a late harvest festival, a secularized American version of Samhain or Harvest Home, and like most harvest festivals in every place and time it is celebrated with a feast.  Unfortunately, as with so many traditions, the original meaning of the institution has become lost and in the minds of many the observance exists only for its own sake rather than for the purpose for which it was established.

One year ago tomorrow?  Yep.  Thanksgiving is what is called a “moveable feast”, a holiday (like Easter) whose date changes from year to year.  But Americans are more concerned with where days fall in the work week than with the phases of the moon, so the computus for Thanksgiving involves neither tables nor astronomical phenomena; it’s simply the fourth Thursday in November.  Last year that fell on November 25th, and this year a day earlier, so it seemed more appropriate for me to call attention to tomorrow’s column today and today’s column tomorrow (when the feature will be called “one year ago yesterday”).  Got it?  I hope so, because I’m off to cook a feast.  I urge all of my American readers to celebrate this day as it was meant to be celebrated:  with those you love, giving thanks for what you have rather than just stuffing your face and planning to buy more tomorrow.  To my Canadian readers:  y’all already had your Thanksgiving back on October 10th, so perhaps today you can drink a toast to your tardy Southern neighbors and wish us luck in catching up on human rights issues.  And to my readers all over the world, I wish you all prosperity and hope that all of you have much to be thankful for as well.

Blessed Be!

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