Thanksgiving

Today, the United States of America celebrates its 390th Thanksgiving Day celebration. It was first observed in the year 1621 at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. Thanksgiving was actually a tradition brought in by the Europeans who first arrived to the Americas and to also give thanks for making it through the long journey.

In Canada, Thanksgiving is to be celebrated a month ahead of the United State's every fourth Thursday of November. That was so because of  Canada's location being nearer to the north pole paving way for the earlier onset of winter therefore ending the harvest season earlier. Thanksgiving Day is a legal holiday in both the United States and Canada.

Thanksgiving is all about celebrating and giving thanks for the harvest of the year. It is the time of year when family and friends gather together to eat bread, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, corn, turkey, and other traditional foods. There are also a lot of activities involved and among them is a fireworks display highlighting the event.

Giving thanks is one characteristic innate to mankind being expressed in many forms and ways by a lot of people regardless of race, belief, culture, and nationality. It is usually in the combined form of prayers, offerings, and festivities. Thanksgiving is not just about the feast, but about giving thanks.

The Philippines has its own version of Thanksgiving, too. Most Philippine festivals are colored by the unique blending of pagan belief with Christianity. Filipino Catholics adore and remember their Saints on the date of their canonizations. A festival can not be without the luxury of foods prepared to be shared with all and other activities.

There are Filipinos of today who, despite being Christians, still practice a diwata or buhat by offering foods and prayers to the gods for a bountiful harvest or for good luck and health. It is to commune with the Supreme Provider or God and to appreciate and acknowledge His generosity and goodness. Thanksgiving is, indeed, the joy of giving thanks by sharing to others the blessings received.

Note: Diwata or buhat is a form of divination/ritual practiced by early Filipinos and transferred from generation to generation. It is to commune with the gods, nature, and other spirits by offering a slaughtered pig or chickens cooked without salt and other spices accompanied with prayers and the sweet-smelling scent of frankincense.

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