A World of Gratitude


by MJ Ali

This is it. This is the beginning of the careening slide to the end of the year. This is when so many people start focusing on details, schedules, and all of the to-do, to-find, to-get and to-buy lists that become the focus of the holiday season.

Worlds tend to get small when trying to juggle extra work, planning, and more shopping than is usually done all year. There’s rarely room for contemplation, relaxation or appreciation.

This month we’re focusing on gratitude, something so easy to practice in thought or in deed. It’s also a great way to take a moment, refocus and—believe it or not—relax. Let’s start by taking a look at where else in the world thanksgiving celebrations happen.

Japanese Thanksgiving – Kinrō Kansha no Hi

Japan’s Labor Thanksgiving, based on ancient harvest festival rituals (Niinamesai), the modern adaptation focuses on celebrating hard work and community involvement.

Thanksgiving in the Netherlands

In Leiden, specifically, they celebrate Thanksgiving. Want to know why? It’s tied to the Mayflower.

Thanksgiving in Grenada

Granada celebrates Thanksgiving to express gratitude for the United States intervention in 1983.

South India’s Pongal, or Harvest Festival

A four-day festival in the state of Tamil Nadu, Pongal gives thanks for harvests by giving gifts.

Most Thanksgiving celebrations are about harvests so vital to survival, but they also reach beyond that to gratitude for life, health and loved ones.

What are you thankful for this year? Today?

What would you like to do to give back? Donate to the local food bank? Donate clothes, toys? Donate time or money? It doesn’t have to be big. It doesn’t even have to take much time. One act will do wonders, guaranteed. Not just for the recipient, but for you, too.

Here are a few places, just in case you’re short on time (‘tis the season!):

Feeding America

Clothing Donations

Toy Donations Pickup

Guide to Volunteering

And, happening now, of course, is Día de los Muertos. Though not a Thanksgiving-style observance, it is a beautiful celebration honoring loved ones who have passed. If you’ve never experienced it, it is a huge celebration in Tucson that must be experienced!

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