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Thanksgiving Day, a harvest festival

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. I had three Aunts that lived close to us. Each year we would have Thanksgiving at one of their houses. If you went away hungry, it was your fault. There was always enough food to feed all of us for a few days.

Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. My Uncles often planted gardens or raised some kind of animal. My Dad didn’t plant or raise anything, but we did our part for the feast just the same. We weren’t rich, but had enough and were thankful for it.

Each of the sisters (Aunts) had some special contribution to the meal. My mom made the best pea salad in the world (in my opinion). The others had their specialties as well. A knack for cooking turkey, making stuffing or something for desert. I often wondered how the dining table and other furniture pressed into use for the occasion managed to hold all that food without collapsing.

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November. In Canada it is celebrated on the second Monday in October. Of course, it isn’t just the USA and Canada. Thanksgiving Day is also celebrated in the Netherlands. A different holiday which uses the same name is celebrated at a similar time of year in the island of Grenada.

The date, location and purpose of the first Thanksgiving celebration are topics of some disagreement. I don’t suppose it matters much when or why there is a celebration. The main idea is to be thankful for what you have and celebrate. Having a reason to gather the family and/or friends together is enough. Just kick back, eat and enjoy.

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