Monday, November 23, 2015

Thanksgiving Around the World

Forty-three years before the Pilgrims sat down for their feast of thanks with their Native American neighbors in 1621 the tradition had already begun in 1578 on the North American continent. It was in that year that explorer Martin Frobisher held a ‘thanks giving’ in October – his thanks? Surviving the arduous sea voyage from England to his new home in Canada.

Though most resident of the United States may believe Thanksgiving is a unique American tradition it is not.

The celebration of the previous year and hopes for a good harvest is an ancient rite but the more modern concept of Thanksgiving really is a Canadian and American tradition. Canada holds this holiday on the second Monday in October and we of course the fourth Thursday in November – wouldn’t want to cramp our cousin’s style to the north.

But in fact, dozens of countries around the world hold the idea of giving thanks as so important that they too have specific declared dates for such an event. It is a time to celebrate the good fortunes of the past year as well as prepare for the upcoming year with family and friends. To sit down together at a feast and count the blessings seem to be a constant around the world – sounds very familiar.

It is. From ancient times people gathered about the hearths and tables laden with all sorts of yummy foods to give thanks for what they had and for what they hoped to have as winter came and then turned into spring. Forever hopeful - those humans no matter what century they belonged.

The grass is always greener.

President Lincoln and Ms. Sarah Josepha Hale
 President Abraham Lincoln declared that Thanksgiving would be held always on the fourth Thursday of November after being persuaded by a letter written from Philadelphia on September 28th of 1863 by Sarah Josepha Hale -  author of the 'Mary Had a Little Lamb' story.  She was a very astute and convincing woman since the president ordered that Thanksgiving would begin that very year. She knew what she wanted and got it.

 Though not to be too nationalistic, though there is nothing wrong in that, other countries as mentioned earlier celebrate similar holidays.

Moon-Cake and tea anyone?
In China the eating of moon-cake during the August moon festival which falls on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of their calendar is an extremely important tradition. It is the time when lovers tell each other their deepest felt emotions and women are considered similes to warm and compassionate virtues - fertility is a big thing mentioned here - albeit the lover issue.

Brazil celebrates something very similar to the United States due to the fact that an ambassador once visited the United States during Thanksgiving and believed it to be such a wonderful expression of thanks he brought it back to his own country. Carnivals, sports and great harvest celebrations are held there each year in thanks for what the Brazilians are thankful for.

Brazil vs Turkey -  really on Thanksgiving

The celebration of Chuseok (fall evening) is celebrated in Korea on the 15th of August and continues for three days. Great feasts are prepared but before partaking families gather below the moonlight in remembrance of their ancestors. This is a great honorable moment and a lot of great food and family fun.

A large family gathering for Chuseok
And on October 4th in Rome is celebrated Cerelia - in honor of an ancient 'goddess of the corn ' Ceres. Musical events, parades and sporting events are conducted to keep this ancient custom alive.

Where's the Corn?
So, around the world there is always time set aside each year for peoples to gather among each other and give thanks for what they have and give thanks for what they may receive in the coming year.

Good food, great family and friends are more than anyone could be thankful for and for that uncertain future - give thanks and a few prayers may serve the purpose also.

We at J and L wish all a wonderful Thanksgiving no matter what country you call home..

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Vive La France

City of Light

Having visited Paris a few times in the past J and L wanted to express our heart felt condolences to the beautiful and wonderful people who live there. We always felt welcomed in the city on the River Seine.

Paris is truly the City of Light when during the Age of Enlightenment education and the promise of new innovative ideas were at its very core. Those ideas spread around the world making each following century that much better. In 1828, gas lamps were erected along the Champs-Elysees and being the first city in Europe to light a major thoroughfare earned the title 'La Ville-Lumiere'. Talk about being creative and full of bright ideas!

This is not a long piece nor should it be but simply a note to the people of Paris who have suffered at the hands of cowards who shun the idea of new thoughts and creativity but only have a sickly perverted desire to move back into the dark ages.

It won't happen because it can't - the free peoples of the world will not allow such a travesty to occur.

Hey  ISIS - the French are coming!