24 Oct Case Managers – November 2021
Is Thanksgiving an “American holiday?” While the timing and traditions may be unique to our country, the concept is not. Around the world, giving thanks is indeed celebrated and there are at least seventeen other countries that designate a day or time to celebrate.
Canada celebrates Thanksgiving annually on the second Monday in October. It’s commonly celebrated to give thanks for the harvest season though there are some historical events that are often associated with the holiday. It’s a lower key holiday than in the U.S. and usually celebrated over the weekend of the holiday with a feast similar to the traditional feast in America.
China celebrates their annual Chung Chiu Moon Festival on the 15th day of the eighth lunar cycle of the year to signify unity and peace for the coming season. A three-day feast takes place, which features sweet delicacies such as mooncakes and round pastries symbolizing the moon. There is often singing or poetry during the celebration and is considered a romantic celebration for couples.
Germany’s holiday for giving thanks is called Erntedankfest, which translates to the harvest thanksgiving festival. There isn’t a set day, rather a season falling in mid-September or October depending on the area of the country. In the early 70s the German Catholic Church designated the first Sunday in October for the holiday, but that is not strictly followed, nor is it considered a religious holiday by everyone. This holiday is celebrated with a feast and a parade which often includes naming a harvest queen and lots of music and dancing.
In Grenada, Thanksgiving is celebrated annually on October 25th and is celebrated to remember how U.S. military intervened during a communist takeover. In 1983, American soldiers introduced the people of Grenada to the concept and the holiday was adopted, though the feast includes traditional Grenadian food.
On Norfolk Island (which is within Australian territory) Thanksgiving is one of the biggest celebrations of the year and takes place the day before the American holiday. This holiday also was introduced by Americans who were using the island as a port for whaling ships. Since turkeys are hard to come by in the South Pacific, roast pork, chicken and bananas are included in the feast. Banana pilaf and mashed bananas being a favorite!
Ever wonder why we eat turkey on Thanksgiving? It’s not likely that turkey was part of the original Thanksgiving, which historians believe probably included deer, duck and geese. Turkey probably did not become part of the annual feast until the early 19th century when it became a popular dish for a few reasons. Turkeys were plentiful (estimated ten million in the United States at that time) and were not useful alive like cows and chickens are. Turkeys are often raised for just one thing, their meat.
Last month I discussed the importance of kindness in everyday life and we are going to stay in a similar vein for this month: Gratitude, how to practice daily gratitude and its benefits. As we all know, November is the time of giving and being thankful, due to one of the most popular of holidays in the United States, Thanksgiving. Gratitude is defined as “The quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.” Like kindness, having both big and small acts, gratitude and showing gratitude is a similar spectrum and can take many different forms.
Finding different ways to show gratitude can be difficult, but maybe one of these 10 Ways to Practice Daily Gratitude can help! If you would like a deeper look, check out mindful.org and their article on practicing daily gratitude.
1. Keep a Gratitude Journal. Quickly writing down what you are thankful for each day leads to gratitude becoming a normal part of each day.
2. Remember the Past. Reflect, but don’t dwell on the hard times you have experienced and where you are now in relation.
3. Ask Yourself Three Questions. Think about your personal relationships, your family, friends, romantic partner and ask yourself three questions. What have I received from ___? What have I given to ____? What troubles and difficulty have I caused? This is a great exercise to help you reflect on your relationships and determine what you are grateful for.
4. Share Your Gratitude with Others. Expressing gratitude can strengthen relationships and has several health benefits just like how being kind does as well. If someone does something for you that you are thankful for, let them know!
5. Sit and Appreciate Your Senses. Our senses are very powerful, take time and reflect on what it means to be human and to be alive.
6. Use Visual Reminders. Two main obstacles of gratefulness are forgetfulness and lack of mindful awareness. Visual reminders can help trigger gratitude, specifically visual reminders of loved ones.
7. Make a Vow to Practice Gratitude. Research has shown that making an oath to perform a certain behavior can really increase your likelihood of going through with it. Your vow could be as simple as “I vow to express my gratitude to my family this week.”
8. Change Up Your Vocabulary. Instead of using language about how inherently good you are, use language relating to and focusing on the inherently good things that others have done for you.
9. Go Through the Motions. A simple smile, saying thank you or writing a thoughtful letter are great signs of gratitude.
10. Get Creative! Find new ways to show your gratitude and have fun with it. Gratitude is meant to bring you and those around you, joy. Expressing gratitude is going to look different for everyone, but hopefully you will find that some of these tips are helpful! Similar to kindness, gratitude and showing gratitude has both health and quality of life benefits. Try to show your gratitude to someone today and see how you feel!
This is my favorite time of the year, crisp cool temperatures, orange leaves, time with family and pumpkin flavored food! I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.
Enjoy the weather! – Drake Deno, Case Manager