Appreciation, Harvest, and the traditions among us

Posted on November 25, 2008. Filed under: Culture, Musings, Philosophy, Spirituality |

smileysunOf the uniquely “United States of America” holidays, Thanksgiving is my favorite. Part of the reason I like it is it is inclusive of all religions and beliefs, as well as secular sensibilities. Anyone can take a moment to experience a sense of appreciation for the amazing miracle known as “life”, as well as for the people and things which enhance each of ours.

We, in my country, celebrate our version of ancient Harvest Festivals on the fourth Thursday of November, so it’s coming right up! Last month, I wished my friends north of the border a good Thanksgiving; they and other friends throughout the world are now looking ahead to the winter holidays around Solstice. Our harvest holiday does seem to come a bit later in the year than most others.

The idea of a harvest festival, or holiday of some kind, is present in most cultures, often including expression of gratitude for the abundance of the harvest, and wishes or prayers for substance during the winter ahead. I’m sharing just a few examples from ancient and modern cultures, because I enjoy multiculturalism:

The Greeks The ancient Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Their goddess of corn (actually all grains) was Demeter who was honored at the festival of Thesmosphoria held each autumn.

The Romans The Romans also celebrated a harvest festival called Cerelia, which honored Ceres their goddess of corn (from which the word cereal comes). The festival was held each year on October 4th and offerings of the first fruits of the harvest and pigs were offered to Ceres. Their celebration included music, parades, games and sports and a thanksgiving feast.

The Chinese The ancient Chinese celebrated their harvest festival, Chung Ch’ui, with the full moon that fell on the 15th day of the 8th month. This day was considered the birthday of the moon and special “moon cakes”, round and yellow like the moon, would be baked. Each cake was stamped with the picture of a rabbit – as it was a rabbit, not a man, which the Chinese saw on the face of the moon.

The Hebrews Jewish families celebrate a harvest festival called Sukkoth. Taking place each autumn, Sukkoth has been celebrated for over 3000 years.

The Egyptians The ancient Egyptians celebrated their harvest festival in honor of Min, their god of vegetation and fertility. The festival was held in the springtime, the Egyptian’s harvest season.

The United States In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving. Since then each president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.

Canada Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Observance of the day began in 1879.Β Β  (With thanks to Holidays on the Net for research.)

I am most appreciative, grateful, and thankful for YOU, the reader of my blog. It’s been quite a year for many of us, and we have a way to go yet! πŸ™‚ You, my world-wide neighbor, have enhanced my life, and it’s nice to remember that, as I go to celebrate a feast with friends. We’ll tell stories, and name things, and, especially, people we’re thankful for. Somewhere in there, I expect to utter the word “blog” or “bloggers”. Listen carefully and you may hear!

A very Happy Thanksgiving/Autumn/Harvest—any celebration that you hold dear!

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17 Responses to “Appreciation, Harvest, and the traditions among us”

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I like such posts that sum up interesting information and trivia. There are harvest festivals in different regions of India. Lohri in Punjab in north and Pongal in South. πŸ™‚

How are you doing now?

happy thanksgiving to you! i didn’t know mooncake festival is to celebrate the harvest! and i call myself chinese. 😳 these days patterns on the mooncake are floral and random. i love chocolate-flavoured ones. they even have ice cream mooncakes, though i’m not sure how that tastes like! i mean, an essential ingredient in mooncake is the salted, orangey egg yolk. can’t imagine that in the ice cream version. πŸ˜•

Happy Thanksgiving, Muse. I love a holiday whose only obligations are to give thanks and eat. And eat.

And a Happy Grateful/Awareness Day to you, too! (Care aka CuriousC)

To you and all Americans, Happy Thanksgiving – glad to see you’re back! πŸ˜€

Glad to have you back with yet another “Muse” entry – informative and so from the heart type one! πŸ˜€

oops hit submit before I typed..”Happy Thanksgiving to you!” πŸ™‚

Thanks for the informative post! I had no idea about how some of the other cultures celebrated, but now I do πŸ™‚ Happy Thanksgiving Muse!! Hope you have a wonderful one!

Thank you for sharing all these tidbits of information, Muse. Happy Thanksgivings to you! I am sooooo glad to see you back! Phew…

Each day I check my blogsurfer and today I get my wish! YAY!

Ella said exactly what I was thinking! Can it get any better than that?

[…] post by Muse yesterday mentioned Abraham Lincoln’s Proclamation of Thanksgiving, of which I don’t […]

A very informative post, Muse! πŸ™‚ I never realised Thanksgiving was equivalent to Harvest Festival, so I feel silly now for not making that connection!

Happy Thanksgiving!! πŸ˜€

I’m doing very well, thank you, Poonam. I had a checkup and the Dr. says I’m healing nicely. πŸ™‚ Thank you for mentioning harvest festivals in India; I didn’t know which to include. Since you wrote your comment, I have become aware of the news from Mumbai. My thoughts are with the people of Mumbai and all India, and victims and families from around the world.

Thank you sulz! I hadn’t know that about mooncakes, either. But I also didn’t know that the President “proclaims” Thanksgiving each year—it’s always on the calendar! So you weren’t the only one with something to learn about their own celebration. I don’t think I’d like salty eggyolk in ice cream, either. πŸ˜• If you ever try it, do tell!

ella, you have summed it up! Amen. I’m looking forward to taking your recipe to my gathering! πŸ™‚ A very Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Thank you C.! And to you! I’m glad you dropped by in your other persona. It reminds me to visit your bookclub!

Thanks very much, Will! We live in curious times. It’s good to be back blogging and connecting with you & the community.

Apar, I appreciate the greetings, and I’m pleased you are pleased I’m here and liked the post. That makes me feel good. And, as I said to Poonam, you and your country’s people are in my thoughts now.

Shane, isn’t it interesting, for instance, that our word “cereal” comes from the Roman Goddess of Corn? I didn’t know that until I looked it up. Thanks, too, for linking from your own great post about Lincoln’s proclamation. A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

Oh, BD, you missed me? My post was your wish? That is soooo sweet and I do appreciate it!!! And yes, I intend to follow ella’s instructions exactly! πŸ˜‰ Thank you for the TG wishes, and to you, 11 months early, LOL.

Glad you felt informed, B0bby. I think it’s good to feel a little silly now and then, so you’ve filled your quota for the moment. πŸ™‚ We tend to just take things like holidays in stride until something makes us question them. Thank YOU for the good wishes!

Of course I missed you! How could I not?
Happy Thanksgiving, Muse. πŸ™‚

word, thebeadden!

BD, you touch my heart! Thank you, I did have a good one. πŸ™‚

sulz, you are a blessing in my life!

For a info junkie like me–this was veerrrry interesting. thanks for sharing Muse. I’ve always been curious.

You are veerrrry welcome, seeing! πŸ™‚ I love that term “info junkie”! I knew there must be a name for people like us. πŸ˜‰

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