Tis the season to be thankful here at World of Liberty. As the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler, you can just feel a change of spirit among us. To prepare us for the biggest holiday of the year, November brings us a few days that remind us to be thankful. World of Liberty loves how Veterans Day and Thanksgiving seemingly go hand in hand. Thanks to the soldiers that protect our great country, we can gather with our family and friends to celebrate all of the wonderful things we are so blessed to have in our lives.
We ease into the grateful mood with Veterans Day, formerly known as Armistice Day, which is always observed on the 11th day of the 11th month for a very cool reason. At 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918, World War I was officially declared “over.” That was the original intention behind Veterans Day, to honor the dedication and sacrifice of the living soldiers that fought for our freedom in WWI. But then as more wars were fought, legislation changed this legal holiday’s name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, so that ALL of the soldiers from ALL of the wars are celebrated for their service to our country. In efforts to bring more recognition to this very significant day, World of Liberty would like to help clear up the confusion people have with Veterans Day and Memorial Day. They are often thought of as the same type of day. However, Memorial Day is to remember those that lost their lives fighting for our country, while Veterans Day is to honor the living soldiers among us that have contributed in times of not only war, but also in times of peace. Here’s a great website that offers ideas to show your appreciation for Veterans on this special day of recognition. Our favorites include writing thank you cards to veterans and asking your teacher to honor them by having a veteran come to class for a visit. We don’t need to wait for November to honor our veterans though, World of Liberty encourages you to do it all year long!
Thanksgiving is another great time to show your gratitude. The “first” Thanksgiving took place in 1621 in celebration of a successful corn harvest. Planting corn was a new skill the Native Americans taught the settlers and the bountiful crop called for a harvest festival that took place over 3 days. Three days of Thanksgiving…that sounds like our kind of party! The menu back in these times wasn’t what we have at our Thanksgiving tables today. No mashed potatoes or green bean casseroles or even delicious pumpkin pie, it was only what they were able to harvest that year. So there was definitely lots of corn dishes and most likely lots of fish since they lived on the New England coast. Probably even some lobster. Yum! The menu wasn’t the only thing different from the traditional Thanksgiving we know and love today. In fact, the 2nd Thanksgiving wasn’t even the following year due to a drought. Actually, Thanksgiving wasn’t just a once a year event, it could happen several times throughout the year depending on how many harvests they had. If they didn’t have a harvest at all they would have to fast, which is probably why when they did have a great harvest, they feasted for days. Remember, they didn’t have refrigerators back then to keep perishable items from rotting. So you had to eat up! Feast or famine as they say. Yet, another thing to be thankful for when you gather with your family and friends this year.
As you know, Thanksgiving is an American
holiday, but the idea of a harvest festival to give thanks for the crops and abundance of blessings is a worldwide notion. Tet Trung Thu, the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, is an ancient festival in Vietnam that celebrates the children. The festival was a way for parents to make up for the time they lost with their children while they worked on the crops and produced the harvest. They would have parades for the children to dance and sing in and the kids would carry lanterns of all shapes and sizes such as fish, stars and butterflies. Moon cakes were the treat of choice to be given out during the festivities. You can find these festivals being held across America where the spirit of Vietnamese culture thrives. It might even be something you want to do in your own community. Perhaps this Thanksgiving when you are gathered with your friends and family you can make your own lanterns and parade about singing and dancing. There is so much to celebrate this time of year. Be grateful for this season of plenty and share the goodness with those who need it.