When I grew up in Germany, we did not celebrate Thanksgiving as it is known here. It wasn't about turkey or pilgrims at all, naturally. We celebrated Erntedankfest, which translates to Harvest Thanksgiving Feast. It is usually celebrated on or around the first Sunday in October and is mostly an unofficial, religious holiday where the altar is decorated with fruits and grains of the fields and gardens. The parishioners bring other foods and staples to the altar to be blessed for later distribution amongst the poor and needy families of the community. Church services is followed by a procession through town and after that the food is distributed. It is a very humbling and charitable experience.
I think it's a lovely way to teach children to take nothing for granted and to be thankful and appreciative for the earth's bounty. It instills values and a sense of gratitude. I miss it, but am grateful for having experienced it firsthand for 18 years.To me, it doesn't matter what religion you are, or even if you have any religion, as long as one realizes that man is not to be arrogant and so full of himself to think he has it in his power to make things grow and that there is a much bigger force at hand. Learning to say Thanks and practicing humility is necessary to keep things in perspective. I am thankful for:
1. My Family 2. My Friends, both in person and the Internet 3. My new hips (and being free from constant pain and the wheelchair) 4. My pets 5. My apartment 6. My car 7. My mind, attitude and life experiences 8. My Faith (and freedom of religion) 9. My travels, road trips, camping trips, etc. to give me good memories 10. My Oma (German for grandmother) who helped shape my life and is still with me after all these years. (OK, and my computer, digital camera and access to the Internet) What are you thankful for?