Every year, the people of the USA celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November. The origins of the event go way back to the early days of European settlement. It is said the original event was when sailors gave thanks for a safe crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. Later, it was associated with the annual harvest and bringing families and communities together. In most places, the event was celebrated as a religous event.In Canada, the celebration is held on the second Monday in October.
In the USA, it was supported by President Lincoln, in 1863, as an annual tradition. But, the date only became officially recognized as a national holiday in 1941.
Now, the Thanksgiving celebration is mainly a commercial festival and a reason to have four days holiday, as people usually take the Friday and then have the weekend also. So, the result is retail sales go up, as people buy presents. The hotel and travel industries make a lot of money. Restaurants and theme parks gain a boost. But, production goes down as everyone is away from work enjying themselves.
That is not good news when the USA is having a hard time paying its debts. So, for what do people give thanks? No doubt, they give thanks for time off work and the opportunity to meet friends and family. But, does Thanksgiving really mean anything of significance, other and extra holiday four weeks before Xmas when more holidays will once again slow production?
What should we give thanks for? Should the holiday be thanksgiving for our health? Should it be thanksgiving for peace? If we are going to give thanks then let us be clear on what it really means.