Harvest Feast is Thanksgiving Day
Give Thanks to the Lord
Two great nations spearheaded in making the day famous the world over. It is a holiday celebrated primarily in Canada and the United States. While perhaps religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday. There are concerts, fireworks and charity works during this pre-Christmas holiday.
The date and location of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention. Though the earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida, the traditional "first Thanksgiving" is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.
The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history in one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States, and this celebration became an important part of the American myth by the 1800s.President Abraham Lincoln even delivered the famous Thanksgiving address to commemorate the significance of the day between the American settlers and the native Indians who helped them settled in the New World.
Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner is held on this day, usually as a gathering of family members and friends.
The symbolism of turkey
Why not goat? Why not sheep? Why not cow? Why not chicken?
Personally, I don’t want to push the importance of turkey in the celebration. Early settlers in the New World brought with them domesticated turkeys and adopted well in the new land. Americans became used to preparing turkey as the highlight of the celebration. The preparation, the cooking and the shaving of turkey meat is well-attended in the celebration to thank the Almighty for the good harvest.
Thanksgiving is also religious in nature because we offer it to the source of all the blessings we receive the whole year round.
Thanksgiving in the Philippines
In the Philippines, Thanksgiving is often the topic in many churches or even in the newspapers of television. But we don’t have specific date to celebrate harvest festival or Thanksgiving day here.
In my province, Camarines Sur, there is this Kaogma Festival (coined from the Bikol word ‘ogma’ which means ‘happy’) which is a form of Thanksgiving celebration for the whole month of May. Harvests in every town and city were often paraded(through car floats) as symbols of thanking the Lord for the good crops the whole year round. The whole region even participate every year.