There are many ways of celebrating a holiday and as a Life Cycle Celebrant, I look for new ways to create ceremonies to add to the deeper meaning of that day or event. As I was preparing for Thanksgiving, I wanted to research why we celebrate this holiday. It's obvious in modern day culture, Thanksgiving is about creating gratitude for our life and generally it is spent with very close family and friends. All of this sentiment is wonderful and helps us take pause together as families and as a nation. As I started to research the holiday of Thanksgiving, I started to feel somber. I don't want to write this blog with the intentions to offend or say we shouldn't celebrate Thanksgiving, but as human beings, I do feel that it's important for us to approach history with honesty and sensitivity.
Historically Thanksgiving is full of embarrassing facts.The facts show that 10 to 30 million Natives were killed at the hands of European invasion and colonialism. Pilgrims were thankful and grateful that the Native population was decreasing. Many of us have been taught to believe the Pilgrims and Indians were friendly towards each other. Columbus and his people slaughtered Native American, gave them diseases and took their land. For anyone who is interested in reading an excellent book on what really happened at Thanksgiving, I recommend picking up a copy of 1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving by Catherine O'Neill Grace. It's well researched. With all this information I have gathered on the history and development of this holiday, my husband and I are not focusing on the Pilgrims/Indians aspect of the holiday but instead on the abundance and blessing of the earth.
I will continue in my next blog about how we celebrated Thanksgiving this year, and how we celebrated with "The Whispering Giant" that brought more meaning and balance into our Thanksgiving celebration.