Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday when we watch parades and American football before eating an enormous feast of turkey, ‘stuffing,’ mashed potatoes and gravy, and then chase it down with slabs of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.
Just yesterday I read how the original feast was perhaps 600 calories. Nowadays... the dietary nannies tell us... the Thanksgiving meal might tip the scale at 5 to 10 times as many calories.
That news almost makes me want to cut back. Almost.
Americans love this holiday. So do Canadians, who celebrate it on the second Monday in October.
We North Americans have done our level best to try and export the holiday, but with very limited success.
Historian Thomas Fleming tells how our British cousins opened up Westminster Abbey on November 26, 1942 during World War Two for a special Thanksgiving Day service for American servicemen and women, the first-time ever the cathedral had been used in that way.
Alas, while the 'Special Relationship' between the U.S. and the UK continues, Thanksgiving remains limited to the colonies.
Part of it, of course, is the holiday's backstory.
We Americans grew up with an elaborate and cherished myth that the first thanksgiving was celebrated when the Native Americans invited the Puritan Pilgrims of Plymouth Rock over for potluck around harvest time.
Every year historians, journalists and other amateur and professional skeptics chip away at the myth.
The latest involves a Spanish explorer named Pedro Menendez de Aviles who dined on bean soup with Native Americans in Florida some 56 years before the more famous meal at Plymouth Rock.
In time no doubt we’ll learn that Leif Ericson in fact broke bread with Native Americans in Labrador around 1000 AD and that the Basques shared their catch of salted cod with the Natives of New England well before the Columbian Exchange.
Nonetheless, Americans are pretty much undaunted by these revelations.
Here’s why: the holiday as we now celebrate it is just so beautiful. Families and friends gather. An enormous meal is prepared. We talk about what it is that we have to be grateful for at the dinner table. We feast. Many of us offer prayers of gratitude. We loosen our belts and take a nap. Then we go home with leftovers in plastic margarine containers.
For my part, I’m grateful to you my readers. Thanks for putting up with my rants. Thanks for disregarding my too frequent errors of spelling, grammar and logic. Thanks for leaving comments. Thanks for suggesting topics and sending examples of cause marketing from where you're from. And, thanks for practicing cause marketing wherever you are.
And, happy birthday Katie!
Labels: cause marketing, Thanksgiving