This Thanksgiving we are thankful to be alive and able to share our love with the aid of the internet. The English Pilgrims celebrated days of thanksgiving as part of their religion. They were days of prayer, not days of feasting.
Our national holiday stems from the feast held in the autumn of 1621 by the Pilgrims and King Massasoit and 90 Wampanoag men to celebrate the colony’s first successful harvest. Here is a historical account of the menu which included various fowl, deer, fruits, vegetables (pumpkin of course) fish and shellfish. There were no ovens for baking. According to some accounts, early English settlers in North America improvised by hollowing out pumpkins, filling the shells with milk, honey and spices to make a custard, then roasting the gourds whole in hot ashes.
Other countries that celebrate their version of Thanksgiving include:
It may surprise you to learn that Canada’s first Thanksgiving celebration actually predates America’s—by more than 40 years. In 1578, an expedition led by the English navigator Martin Frobisher held a ceremony in what is now Nunavut, giving thanks for the safety of their fleet. This is considered the first-ever Thanksgiving celebration in North America, though in fact First Nations (the indigenous peoples of Canada) and Native Americans had been holding harvest festivals long before Europeans arrived.
The German equivalent of Thanksgiving is Erntedankfest (“harvest festival of thanks”). This religious holiday often takes place on the first Sunday in October, which is often also the first Sunday following Michaelistag (Michaelmas) on September 29; different places mark the occasion on various dates in September and October.
Freed slaves from the United States established Liberia in the early 1820s with help from the American Colonization Society, a private organization that believed returning African Americans to the country of their origins would provide them with greater opportunity, help spread Christianity to Africa and solve the nagging problem of slavery in the United States. In the early 1880s, Liberia’s government passed an act declaring the first Thursday of November as National Thanksgiving Day.
Japan’s variation of Thanksgiving, Kinro Kansha no Hi (Labor Thanksgiving Day) evolved from an ancient rice harvest festival, Niinamesai, the roots of which go back as far as the seventh century A.D. During the Meiji Era (1868-1912), the date of the festival was set as November 23, and it has remained the same since then.
This remote island’s Thanksgiving tradition dates back to the mid-1890s, when the American trader Isaac Robinson decided to put on an American-style Thanksgiving service in the All Saints Church in Kingston in order to attract some visiting American whalers to the celebration.
Every October 25, people on this West Indian island celebrate their own Thanksgiving Day, which marks the anniversary of a joint Caribbean and U.S. military invasion of Grenada in 1983. The troops’ arrival restored order after an army coup ousted and executed Maurice Bishop, Grenada’s socialist leader, and put the island under martial law. While stationed on the West Indian island that fall, U.S. soldiers told local citizens about the upcoming American holiday and some of its traditions. To show their own gratitude, many people in towns and villages hosting the soldiers invited them to dine and celebrate with them, even surprising them with such non-native island foods as turkey, cranberry and potatoes.
It’s sometimes forgotten that of the English settlers who traveled to the New World on the Mayflower, some 40 percent spent the years 1609 to 1620 living and working in the Dutch city of Leiden. As a result, some have claimed that the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving celebration was actually inspired by Leiden’s annual commemoration of the breaking of the Spanish siege in 1574.
After Puerto Rico became a United States territory in the late 19th century, its residents enthusiastically adopted many of the traditions of the holiday. They celebrate it on the same day (fourth Thursday in November) and embrace the same Black Friday shopping craziness on the following day. But Puerto Ricans have put their own twist on the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast: There is usually turkey—whether a roasted, seasoned pavochón or a turkey stuffed with mofongo (a mashed plantain dish)—but roast pork is also a common item on the menu, accompanied with more plaintains, rice and beans.
American ex-pats and Chinese people who have lived abroad enjoy the traditional family-centered celebration and festive foods. Although many homes now serve Peking Duck, stir fry veggies, noodle dishes, eggplant and traditional dishes cooked with 5 Spice, (cinnamon, fennel seeds, star anise, Sichuan peppercorn and cloves) and teas. Sharing a hotpot is a longtime Chinese tradition. Friendsgiving has become common with millennials working in big cities who can’t go home to celebrate.
Chinese Christians call the day “Gan’en Jie” literally: ‘thanks for grace holiday’. Foreigners in China might hear friends say “thank you” and receive a small gift. The holiday for early settlers and Natives in the American colonies has been adopted by people around the world to thank God for blessings.
Here are delicious teas to help settle our nerves, boost our Spirit and enjoy the season.
Rose bud tea is a romantic message for someone we love. The handpicked small red roses fill the cup with fragrance that can ease pain and depression.
Dried Longan fruit makes a sweet, soothing tea when brewed and adding honey. The Longan is literally translated to “dragon eye” due to its resemblance to that of dragon’s eyeball when it is still in its shell. The berries are produced by a tropical tree that is native to southern China, but also grows in some other areas of Asia. Dried Longan is used in Chinese cuisine, and desserts, and a delicious drink. Longan, as an herbal medicine, is believed to have a relaxing effect on the body. Also, because of the fruit’s high Iron content, it is thought to help in improving concentration & memory. In addition, it is known to alleviate stomach-aches and help with insomnia.
Tian qi Flower can be brewed alone or added to white or green tea. Tian qi flower is a small greenish bud that looks like dried broccoli flowers. The taste is mild, cooling and slightly minty similar to American ginseng. Tian Qi is highly prized throughout Asia for its traditional use of pain relieving and healing properties. It has been used for headache, hypertension, acne, agitation and teeth grinding during sleep.
Fruit Teas: Brighten winter’s gloom with a delightful fruit tea. Their sweet, calming flavors bring happy thoughts and conversations shared with friends and family.
Happy Zoom Thanksgiving