Thursday 25 November 2010

Thankful for Thanksgiving

My goodness, what a day it’s been, what a day I’ve had. It was Thanksgiving, the American harvest festival. The roots allegedly go all the way back to the first Thanksgiving celebrated by the Pilgrim Fathers, though as a national holiday it really only extends back to a proclamation issued by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

There was actually a political reason for this, one, I note, that does not appear in the Wikipedia article on the subject. It shifted the national focus away from those nasty rebel cavaliers in the South to the earnest puritans of the North! The thing is the much lauded Pilgrim fathers were not the first white settlers in North America, an honour that belongs to the community established at Jamestown in Virginia, clearly not something that Lincoln wanted to draw too much attention to, given the circumstances of the time.

Anyway, my family, as English as they come, celebrate Thanksgiving also, always held on the last Thursday in November. I came down from university specifically for the occasion, bringing some homesick American friends with me, to join others, friends and colleagues of mother and father. We had a splendid time, fourteen of us to dinner, the traditional Thanksgiving feast of turkey and all the lovely American trimmings, all washed down with an excellent Californian vintage. And for pudding, what else but pumpkin pie! Actually, I made this myself. It's one of my favourite puddings, something I really enjoy preparing. Pastry handmade, mind you, no dreadful supermarket elastic! The turkey is no hardship so close to Christmas because we, by our own tradition, always have goose, pheasant or capon then, or occasionally fresh salmon for a change.

So, why, you might ask, does an English family take part in an American festival? Well for one thing we in England have long lost or own harvest festival tradition, rather a pity in so many ways. But more to the point mother and father lived in America for a long time before I was born. In fact it’s where they met for the first time. Our family has so many American friends and, as I've said previously, I spent a great deal of time travelling backwards and forwards to Georgia when I was growing up. It seemed natural to adopt Thanksgiving as our holiday also, which only helps to brighten up November, the most dismal month on the calendar. So thank goodness for Thanksgiving. What about the 4th of July, you may ask, do we celebrate that also? No, we are still English and that might be going a tad too far! What would King George think? :-)

Now I’m tired, emotional and off to bed!


  1. May you and your family and friends have a good holiday.

  2. Anastasia

    I now realize why you know so much more than the average English person of American History and life over there.

    But your respect for other cultures comes out of your writing too; it is sadly lacking in the World in general. Compliments are required when this admirable trait is observed and you have my appreciation for your attitude in these things.

    To conclude, as a fellow admirer of America [of the 50 States – smile] and their customs I enjoyed your Post. I also have close family there and many friends who regularly send me good wishes on their big festive days; from my side I dispatch a host of 4th of July messages every year but I suppose you know all about that. Americans [of the 50 States again] are good people.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving to you, Ana.

  4. With all the doom and gloom around just now any excuse to party is a good one. ha ha

  5. Anthony, that's sweet of you. The sentiments are returned.

  6. Ike, thanks. It's just something I grew up with. I'm fortunate to have parents who nurtured every talent I have and opened me up to all of life's rich possibilities. Yes, my good wishes go to all Americans also.:-)

  7. Calvin, thank you, that's very kind of you. The same to you and your family.

  8. Thanksgiving! Freedom, self-reliance, and the pursuit of happiness fulfilled!

    A lovely blog, Ana.

  9. Hope you ate your fill dear :) =hug=


  10. Coll, never to excess! I hope you had a good one yourself.