Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia, and the sub-national entities LeidenNorfolk Island, and Puerto Rico. It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays occur in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and Brazil, and around the same part of the year in other places. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well.

Source: Thanksgiving – Wikipedia

The impact of smallpox on First Nations on the West coast of Canada devastated communities not once but at least twice.

Opinion:

The older I get the less hung up I become on national and even religious holidays. For me, the best way to live is to try to live as if every day is Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, whatever.

I am a Christian so obviously, most concerned with the holidays that mark my past, my upbringing. I do not get too excited about Diwali or Chinese New Year.

They are interesting religious festivals and I respect the traditions but that’s about it. Same with Hanukkah. What I like most about Hanukkah is my neighbor’s tasteful light-up candelabrum which goes so nicely with our more extensive but still fairly modest Christmas lights.

When they are both lit up for those eight nights and days, I feel it’s a symbol of how the Jewish and Christian faiths can work together. Peace and harmony.

A Catholic priest once told me that Christians are actually “spiritual Jews.” I’m not sure if Jews would agree but if Christians remember that Jesus was a Jew and only trying to get at the heart of Jewish teaching (except for the eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth bit), then it arguably does make sense.

But to return to Thanksgiving, this year it feels a bit different. Not only the pandemic but another year has passed, enabling the modified perspective that hopefully comes to us with age.

As we grow older we are able to not only cherish our past but also, in a kind of postmodern vein, deconstruct it. We can ask new questions. Look from different angles.

So this year around I am wondering how Indigenous people feel about Thanksgiving.

Thanks, Euros for coming and spreading lethal diseases, swindling us out of our lands, and subjugating our people to reserves? Thanks for tearing our kids away from their families by sending them to emotionally and physically abusive residential schools? Thanks for sending many of our proud young warriors to Yonge Street where they can spend their lives begging for change and trying to ease their frightful misery through dope, needles and alcohol? Thanks also for giving our 21st-century youths one of the highest suicide rates in Canada?

Yonge Street, Toronto Canada

Ouch.

Sounds dark but in many instances, this is the reality.

So yes, I am thankful for my life and all that I have experienced up ’till this moment. But that thankfulness also includes asking new questions today.

How do you feel about Thanksgiving?

Will the act of selling pumpkin pie soon be regarded as a hate crime?

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