A Celebration of Plenty
OFFERING TO GODS
Sympatico.ca: You can read by clicking on the preceding blue hilite or
continue reading on this PVAF web site dedicated to sharing knowledge about life
and creation on this planet earth......
Did you know that eight nations of the world have official
Thanksgiving Days? The nations are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea,
Liberia, Switzerland and the United States.
The tradition of declaring a special day or period for giving
thanks is an ancient one. It dates far back to the time when our ancestors hoped
that an ostentatious display of gratitude would placate their capricious gods -
thus ensuring continued bounty. But these days of thanksgiving were also
occasions for celebrating the year's plenty with feasts and joyful gatherings.
The thanksgiving celebrations of the ancient Greeks took the form of an annual
fall festival, during which offerings were made to Demeter, the goddess of corn.
Every October the Romans held a harvest festival called Cerelia, in praise of
Ceres (Demeter's Roman counterpart) which included games, parades and a feast.
The Jewish harvest festival, Sukkoth, is still celebrated every autumn as it has
been for 3000 years.
Please click on the next line to continue being enlightened about the humans
appreciating for what they recieve from nature called by many names....
One of the most well-known symbols of Thanksgiving also dates back to ancient
Greece. The cornucopia or "horn of plenty" comes from the myth in which Zeus
gave Amalthea (who had fed him with goat's milk when he was an infant) one of
the goat's horns as a gesture of thanks, with a promise that it would bring an
abundance of anything she wished for.
Proclaiming days of Thanksgiving for various reasons - success in war, a
bounteous harvest, the recovery of a king from illness - was part of European
tradition for centuries. The first rite of Thanksgiving to be held in North
America took place in 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher arrived in
Newfoundland and ordered that a ceremony be held to thank God for protecting his
crew during the long and dangerous sea voyage.
However, much of modern North American Thanksgiving lore is associated with the
Pilgrims. In 1621, a year after arriving in the new world on the Mayflower, and
following a severe winter in which many of their numbers had succumbed to
disease, the colonists celebrated their first successful harvest by organizing a
thanksgiving feast to which they invited the neighboring Native Indians. On the
menu for that first American Thanksgiving were almost certainly some foods that
have become staples of the holiday - turkey and pumpkin - along with other wild
fowl, venison, oysters, clams, fish, corn cakes, and wild fruit and nuts.
Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving
on the fourth Thursday of November?
Because President Abraham Lincoln declared this day a holiday in his famous
Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863. Yes, but who was behind this decision? The
answer is Sarah Josepha Hale, one of the most important, yet least recognized,
women in American history. She lobbied the President to officially proclaim a
day of Thanksgiving, convinced that observing it on a national level would
bind the warring country together and ensure peace.
During the American Revolution, many colonists desiring to
remain loyal to the British crown headed north to Canada, bringing with them
many New England traditions, explaining the continuing similarity of many US
and Canadian Thanksgiving customs and menus. Following European tradition,
general days of Thanksgiving had been officially proclaimed in Canada since
1799 to celebrate royal events or the end of wars or epidemics. By the latter
part of the nineteenth century, a day of thanksgiving for an abundant harvest
was proclaimed each year for a Thursday in November, later moving to October,
perhaps because of Canada's colder climate and earlier harvest. Eventually
Thanksgiving came to be celebrated on a Monday, though in the 1920s
Thanksgiving was once again observed in November, the Monday before Armistice
Day. Finally in 1931, Canadian Thanksgiving was fixed for the second Monday of
October, a move formally enshrined by Act of Parliament in 1957.
But enough about history! What's for
On most North American tables, a turkey still holds pride of
place for the annual Thanksgiving feast. In the US alone, over 40 million
turkeys are consumed on this holiday weekend each year! It is usually
accompanied by gravy and stuffing, the particular accents of which are
determined by region. Along the eastern seaboard, oyster stuffing is
traditional, hearkening back to the days when these shellfish were a cheap and
plentiful source of food.
Turkey Breast with Southwestern
In the south, you are more likely to find cornbread stuffing,
while in the northern US and Canada you might find wild rice among the
ingredients for the turkey dressing. Cranberry sauce is traditional, made with
fresh or frozen berries, or perhaps in the form of a jiggly cylinder that
slides out of a can!
Cranberry and Orange sauce Recipe
A staple of many American Thanksgiving dinners is sweet
potatoes, combined with sugar, spices and butter, turned into a casserole and
sometimes topped with marshmallows.
Maple Praline Sweet Potatoes Recipe
Other vegetable dishes, salads, pickles and rolls usually
round out the meal, followed by the traditional pumpkin pie and whipped cream.
In many households, a final Thanksgiving tradition is to retire to a
comfortable chair to loosen one's belt!