The Sun News

Another Thanksgiving in America: Laced with varied reasons

WHILE other holidays lose their flavor as we grow older, Thanksgiving is a holiday period that increases both its utility and zest as one ages. That said, today, Thursday, November 24, 2016, is Thanksgiving Day in America. While today, Thursday is the Thanksgiving Day in America, some people have been on holiday for three days or a week prior to this Thursday. The roadways and airports across the United States are crowded during this period, a heavily traveled time for the most popular holiday in America. Thanksgiving appears to be most celebrated holiday because of its historical intimacy and its current contextual relevance to everyone living in this country.

Thanksgiving was conceived when the Pilgrims and Puritans thought it necessary to give thanks for their political and religious freedom, as well as social and economic progress they had made in their new-found land, America.

Painstakingly, the Pilgrims, who left Plymouth, England for political freedom and self-government, braced the dangers of the waters and sailed on Mayflower on September 6, 1620 and arrived about two months later to establish their own colony in Plymouth in the New England area. In autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims began a harvest festival—Thanksgiving that has now become a three-day feast in American culture. Thus, with its roots traced to the ‘ancient harvest festivals,’ Thanksgiving is an American tradition conceived of in the 17th century when the Pilgrims celebrated their yield for three days. According to IIP DIGITAL, a publication of the United States Government, Thanksgiving later became an official United States holiday in 1863 under President Abraham Lincoln with President Franklin Roosevelt signing a law in 1941fixing Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.

Though Plymouth was said to have been a place where the first Thanksgiving was held in America, yet there was a debate over where Thanksgiving first took place. Despite the stale debate, this is a period to be thankful for. In any case, today, many people, especially immigrants are commemorating Thanksgiving for various reasons. While the early settlers from Europe celebrated Thanksgiving for bountiful harvest, as well as for political and religious freedom, new immigrants are, in no doubt, commemorating Thanksgiving for economic freedom. Still, others are venerating the Thanksgiving Day for varied reasons.

Surely, many people in America relish Thanksgiving Holiday because it affords them the opportunity for a period of rest from their busy daily routine. It also gives them the opportunity to travel to be with their loved ones during the period. Some Americans use the holiday for family reunion. So, as the Americans revel Thanksgiving, immigrants join in the celebration for variety of reasons. Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and sharing. It is a period for families to sit, relax, and eat together reflecting on how far they have come in their journey to success in the United States. As a result, family members travel far and wide to congregate in one place to celebrate together as they give unadulterated thanks to God for everything they have achieved. The traditional Thanksgiving dinner is served with turkey and other special Thanksgiving trappings. Some immigrants use the opportunity to serve their special authentic ethnic food.

Yes, today, in commemorating Thanksgiving, people venerate the day for various reasons. Most immigrants reflect on the day for plethora of reasons. Some people from trouble spots around the world, especially those from countries embroiled in civil wars, are thankful for their lives and the new-found freedom. Their children have replaced the echoes of mortars and the ugly sight of deplorable conditions in the reeking refugee camps with lovely chirping sounds of birds around the playground near their well-ventilated and clean apartment complexes and aroma of freedom and safety. They are also thankful that their children are receiving formal quality education.

Mr. Ngozi Echebelem copiously said with mixed emotions, “Thanksgiving is a good time to give thanks to God for the good things he has done for us every year giving us life. For my family, it is very difficult for us during thanksgiving period because we lost both our parent on a Thanksgiving week, but we can’t question God who knows better. We thank Him for the good wife and beautiful children he gave me and good health.”

To some Nigerian families, this Thanksgiving period is laced with enormous grief. No one is more hearth-broken during this period than Mrs. Christie Adaneike, who buried her sister, Atty. Liz Iriele last month in Houston. We are still morning the loss of Liz, former president of Ogberuru Development Association, USA. In the same vein, some Nigerian families in major American cities are still mourning the loss of their loved ones. In fact, the spike in death this year among Nigerians in the United States is alarming. Some of the bodies the dead have not made it back to Nigeria yet.

Personally, this year’s Thanksgiving is special to me for obvious reasons. First of all, my birthday falls in the Thanksgiving week. I am healthy and hearty. As a result, I’m mostly thankful to God for my children who will all assemble in the home for reunion. I am thankful to God for making it possible for me to work for the same employer for over 27 years and still in excellent spirit and health. As I observe the Thanksgiving Holiday, I reflect on God’s blessings and His kindness to humanity.

Truly, Thanksgiving celebration in America is laced with varied reasons. However, it is my humble opinion that we should be thankful to God every day for His blessings and love. It is not enough to remember God’s blessings periodically; we should give thanks to the Almighty every moment of our life for His goodness and grace. In addition, the bible says that we should give thanks to God in all circumstances.

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Editor, Online: Ikenna Emewu
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