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Thanksgiving

If we were Americans, it would’ve been Thanksgiving yesterday and today would be Black Friday.

What makes Thanksgiving strange is that although Filipinos usually want to imbibe in everything American, very few of us would’ve been bothered with celebrating it yesterday, although most of us will be busy checking online shopping apps for Black Friday deals today.

Among the western holidays that Filipinos love to partake in, Thanksgiving is the least popular. Unlike Halloween, there are neither costumes nor candy. Unlike Valentine’s day, there are no flowers, chocolates, romantic dates or overcrowded motels. Perhaps it never gained traction because turkeys aren’t common here and a Thursday, specifically the last one of November, seems like a bad idea for a food-centered celebration, especially with the slew of Christmas parties right around the corner.

For those who do not understand Thanksgiving, this is how www.nationalgeographic.com describes it:

Every fourth Thursday of November, Americans gather around tables covered with turkey, potatoes, cranberries, stuffing and more. Over the feast, they share what they’re most thankful for from the previous year. Some also celebrate the day by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade or a football game or even by running a 5K race.

Legend is that the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621, when the Mayflower pilgrims who founded the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts sat down for a 3-day meal with the Wampanoag. George Washington proclaimed the first national day of Thanksgiving in 1789 and it was finally established as a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War, cementing the feast as an American tradition, giving them an excuse to gather with family and eat good food.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that we have ignored but if you come to think of it, the most beautiful among the commercially-driven western holidays that we have chosen to adopt. It is not about spooks, ghouls, costumes and candy. It is not about the obscene cost of romantic love and getting laid. It is simply about gratefulness, family, friends, and good food.

Maybe we don’t need to celebrate Thanksgiving because Filipinos already spend a lot of time with family, friends and god food. However, I do feel we need to take some time to be thankful every now and then, especially after these past two years that have been very difficult for most.

We don’t need to set aside a Thursday every year just to be thankful, like the Americans do, but maybe we can take their lead and think about everything we can be thankful for over the past few years, for the sake of our mental health.

Families who have not been struck by serious cases of COVID can be thankful for a lot, most especially the gift of physical and financial health. If ever we get through this pandemic, we seriously need to have a national day of thanksgiving as it is no mean feat to survive it given the quality of the people who were somehow put at the helm of this country during one of its most challenging times.

Those who still have their jobs and sources of income by now also have a lot to be thankful for. So many have lost almost everything during this poorly managed pandemic so if your lifestyle hasn’t changed drastically for the worse, there are plenty of reasons to be grateful.

We can also be thankful for the gift of vaccination. It took a while to finally get underway but the vaccines are finally here and there seem to be no more restrictions and silly rules when it comes to getting jabbed. Only the little kids aged 11 and below are not getting vaccinated but hopefully by the time boosters are available for the general population, they should be jab-ready as well. Those who are against it are free to deny getting vaxxed because it’s a personal choice but they shouldn’t actively drag others into their silly club. They should just be thankful that their freedom of choice is still being respected.

Mental health is also something we should be grateful for. Those who have you’ve kept it together throughout this pandemic, especially the extroverts, can hopefully bongga celebrate soon but for now, a fist pump will do. If you’ve have friends and loved ones help you deal with troubles throughout this pandemic, show them same gratitude and appreciation.

Those of us who have despairing over the seemingly bleak future of this country are also thankful that a candidate that we can wholeheartedly vote for has stepped up and offered hope and inspiration. Getting her into a position to change the direction this country has been going is going to be a tough fight but at least we aren’t choosing between lesser evils this time around. I hope and pray that I will have more to be thankful for by this time next year but there are a lot of obstacles that have to be hurdled and hearts and minds won before that can happen. But getting to fight for someone you believe in is already a blessing. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody. What are you thankful for?*

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