Thanksgiving is hands down my most favorite holiday of the year. It’s a tradition that I first adopted as a young immigrant newly arrived in the United States more than 30 years ago.
I recall the generosity of families opening their homes to young immigrants like us whose families lived far away. Later, we opened our home to students who had left their homelands to arrive on the shores of the USA for higher studies.
To this day, I follow the traditions of Thanksgiving, hosting family and friends. I take great joy in sharing the table with other families. Unlike gatherings for which I take the easy way out by catering food, Thanksgiving is when I cook! Planning the meal, creating a theme, setting the table and thinking of all the things for which I give thanks brings me great pleasure.
Thanksgiving is meaningful at so many levels, but for me it is the three Gs that make this holiday so special: Gratitude, Giving, and Generosity.
Gratitude: Thanksgiving is all about appreciating and being grateful for all we have in life—good health, the gift of friends and family and gainful employment. It is about acknowledging good fortune and that tough times ultimately makes us stronger and who we are today.
Giving: Giving is the best part of Thanksgiving. The holiday reminds us that when we give to others and share our joy, our happiness quotient multiplies many fold and brings a special warmth to our hearts that is fulfilling in ways no wealth can buy. It is one holiday when we pause to celebrate the act of helping others and aiding those less fortunate than ourselves.
Generosity: When the Wampanoag Indians saw the Pilgrims suffering during their first winter in Plymouth, they shared their food and provisions, saving the Pilgrims from starvation and death. This extraordinary generosity is the true story of Thanksgiving. Unlike other religious holidays, Thanksgiving is non-denominational and inclusive. It has no association with deities or demons, no mythology of good over evil, no superheroes or supernaturals—only regular human beings who put their differences aside and share the bounty of the land that belongs to all of us with a responsibility to honor and protect.
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends and family, and to the entire SEEMA community.