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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thanksgiving and Erntedankfest

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?

Happy Thanksgiving!

12 comments:

gin said...

that is a nice post about your holiday from home. Booty is a pretty cat. I hope you find him the perfect home.

Renee said...

Lovely Doris.

Your thanksgiving is much more like the Canadian thanksgiving and held around the same time.

I never knew about your new hips, but I too am thankful for that for you.

Love Renee xoxo

Samantha G said...

Thank you for sharing that about Erntedankfest! That is very interesting and I can't believe I have never heard of it. Now it seems like Thanksgiving is more about football than family or being thankful, and that makes me sad...

But I'm thankful for Sunday & Monday night football, as it gives me time to work on art and not feel like I'm being anti-social while my husband watches the sports, hehe :)

Ozark Mountain Cats said...

Thanks for dropping by my blog. Ooops, excuse me, my cat's blog (they're very possessive). Good Luck finding Booty a good home.

Fairy Footprints said...

Doris, what a great post.


Happy Holidays

Wishing you and yours a great Thanksgiving.

♥´¨)¸.+´¸.•*´¨)¸.+*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.+´♥♥¸.+´
¸.•*´¨)¸.+*´¨)
(¸.•´ (¸.+´♥ Heidi ♥)

Queenmothermamaw said...

Doris those pictures were beautiful. That was a wonderful thing to do. In my town the large cathedral parish has a Thanksgiving dinner for the needy and it is all free. Many families go and help with the dinner and provide the food. Congrats on the new hips. I have 2 new(5 years) knees. Best thing I ever did. You are up to be highlighted on my birthday blog tomorrow. Nov. 25. Stop by for a visit.
QMM

Debbie said...

Thank you for sharing about your holiday in Germany. It's nice to remember how much we have to be thankful for!

Olde Dame Penniwig said...

ErnteDANKfest sound so very wonderful. The altars in the pictures are so lovely! And for the food to be given to the poor is wonderful.

Today I made a giant basket for a young couple, friends of my son. I have bought a box or a package of treats for the last few months, saving up for their basket. I have had many treats in my life; they are beginning and have had so few! I am thankful I was able to do this. And I'm thankful for finding your blog!!!

Tulsi said...

That is a wonderful tradition! I may have mentioned this before but my mom has lived in Switzerland for 22 years and pretty much considers herself European. Which is sad to me , but they don't celebrate Thanksgiving anymore. When they lived in Geneva my mom went all out for Thanksgiving and the neighbor hood kids looked so forward to dressing up and going to their apartment for treats. It was weird for those who grew up there, but even the parents started getting in to it and some had treats so the kids could go to more than one home. Now they live in a hamlet with homes far away and they stopped doing that. I think I read that you are from Germany. Not sure when you moved here, but My great great grand mother on my mom's dad's side is a Boss from there. My mom went to the town and the house she grew up in. Family still owned it and she was able to collect much genealogy. It was such a great experience for her. I hope your Thanksgiving is great!

Kathy said...

Happy Thanksgiving Doris!!!! Great post, xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

Julie said...

Hi Doris,What a wonderful post...Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family my Friend
xoxo
Julie

Renee said...

Have a wonderful day.

Love Renee xoxo