Should the British celebrate Thanksgiving?

@owlwings (42107)
Cambridge, England
November 19, 2009 7:15am CST
Should people in Britain celebrate Thanksgiving? After all, when those Pilgrims left our shores to set up their own colony and celebrated the first Thanksgiving nearly 390 years ago, we were rid of a load of very troublesome Puritans, so we have as much to be thankful for on our side of the pond as they on theirs (for a safe arrival). All that, of course, was long ago and times have changed. We no longer think of those people who give a strange twist to our language as 'colonists' or 'British' (and nor do they consider themselves such). Even so, all of us have something to be thankful for every day (or should have) and it is a good thing to have one day on which one can feast with family and friends and remember all that has happened over the last year so that we can pick out the good or salutary bits and remember to be thankful ... if only that we are still here to do so. On this day, I remember my American friends, especially, many of whom I have not met. I am grateful for their friendship and for the way that it has enriched my life in the last six or seven years. I imagine myself sitting as an invisible guest at their tables and joining with them in whatever grace they choose to say. I also spend a moment or two remembering other friends and family (because, even though Thanksgiving is not celebrated generally in Britain, I think there ought to be a day set aside for it and this one is as good as any). Do you see this as a good idea? Do you already have an annual 'Thanksgiving' ceremony in your country?
6 people like this
20 responses
@JodiLynn (1417)
• United States
19 Nov 09
what should the indigenous American peoples celebrate, mass extinction? Why would any person of Indian descent be thankful for Britain dumping her trash on their pristine shores? just asking.....
4 people like this
@owlwings (42107)
• Cambridge, England
20 Nov 09
You gave me pause for thought. Yes, it is a cause for shame that the British and, of course, many other immigrants since, both voluntary and involuntary, who now make up the majority of the American people have treated the indigenous peoples so poorly. It ought to be remembered that the very first Thanksgiving was celebrated jointly and with equality by the 'pilgrims' and their native hosts who were probably the main instrument in the survival of that tiny band. Not all native Americans were as welcoming to the settlers, of course, as the East coast tribes (and sometimes with good reason), though that part of history came later. Thank you for reminding us.
2 people like this
@kalav56 (11497)
• India
19 Nov 09
Well , basically the concept of thanksgiving appeals to me. In our country we do not have this sort [the one you have spoken of] but there are other festivals that are very interesting.THere is one harvest festival in the month of January--this basically is the harvest season in certain regions and people invoke Nature and thank her for Her countless Blessings.We thank the Sun and NATURE, feed the birds and cows , and this is very beautiful.I like the concept behind many of our festivals and this particular one symbolises thanksgiving to Nature.
4 people like this
@benny128 (3621)
19 Nov 09
personally I dont and I wouldnt, if we celebrated thanks giving we would have to start celebrating all sorts of different cultures etc etc as we are all now in a mixed society no matter what country you are from. Its entirely personal choice and I wouldnt dis-courage nayone from celebrating any culture or country specific tradition in their own home but its not for me am afraid.
4 people like this
@dorypanda (1597)
19 Nov 09
No, Britain shouldn't have a 'Thanksgiving Day', I don't agree with Britain becoming AmericaniZed. I actually tend to be thankful for every single day that I'm alive, why would I only be thankful on one specific day of the year? I think that here, in England it's a tradition to be with your family on Christmas day or around Christmas time. Christmas doesn't seem to be such a big deal in America, they seem to prefer Thanksgiving.
3 people like this
@owlwings (42107)
• Cambridge, England
20 Nov 09
I would hope that, if Britain instituted a Thanksgiving, it wouldn't be simply a 'copy' of the American celebration. After all, Canada and (I believe) Australia have their own days. I can quite see that a 'national proclamation' or institution of 'Thanksgiving Day' in Britain would be sneered at and largely ignored by many simply because it was a Government edict. Many churches have a Harvest Festival but for many people this has no relevance. I agree, of course, that many people use Christmas as a day of celebration and a time when families get together. You are absolutely right that we should 'tend to feel thankful' each and every day and special people like you often remember to do so but there is, in my opinion, something to be said for having an annual day to focus on being thankful which can be shared by everyone, regardless of colour or creed.
3 people like this
@Sandra1952 (6052)
• Spain
19 Nov 09
Hello, Owlwings. What a lovely idea. I have a friend whose family are Mormons, and at the main meal of the day, they ask a blessing on the food, and give thanks for their friends and their life. So basically, every day is Thanksgiving Day in their home. That doesn't mean they're a model family like the Osmonds or the Partridge Family though - oh no! They have their squabbles, just as any family does, but they do concentrate on thanksgiving at least once a day. I think a day like you suggest would be a very welcome addition to the calendar. It's nice to have such a day to focus your thoughts. However, it would probably get turned into another earning opportunity by the retail giants.
@owlwings (42107)
• Cambridge, England
20 Nov 09
I like your friend's tradition. I wish that I had instituted something like that when my family were younger. Yes, the day would certainly be turned into a commercial opportunity very quickly and, because all of that would be available 'on a plate' to retailers, it would very likely be a simple commercial copy of the American model, just as Hallowe'en is.
2 people like this
@thea09 (18316)
• Greece
19 Nov 09
Hi Owlings, no I don't agree that it should be an annual celebration in Britain though anyone who chooses to have a thanksgiving dinner themselves has their own choice. I don't think that taking tradtions from other cultures and making them our own is necessary. Here in Greece there are certain days for national celebrations and there is no need for more, foreigners who move here should respect the traditions of the host country. It isn't good to see small changes being made so that just in the last few years christmas has started to be more than just a quiet meal as it is the start of introducing materialism in a way not previously seen. Easter is the biggest celebration of the year here and this year was the first time that Easter chocolate bunnies were seen. I think to introduce thanksgiving as an actual calendar date for celebration into Britain would be a revism of colonialism.
3 people like this
@owlwings (42107)
• Cambridge, England
19 Nov 09
I completely agree with you about the commercialisation of celebrations like this. If it were possible to legislate against people making money out of such special events, I would be all for it. Oliver Cromwell tried, I believe, and others have also tried by attempting to ban both the celebrations and the authorities (in most cases, the Church) that sanctioned the celebrations. It doesn't work: people need an excuse for celebration and marketers would not be marketers if they didn't try to make money out of it, much to the detriment of our pockets! There is good and bad to be said about any festivity. The good is (hopefully) concerned with what it is really about and the bad is mostly concerned with the spin that entrepreneurs have put on it (not only in recent years ... this has been going on since ancient times: think of the market stalls that congregate round any shrine or at any ancient gathering!) I agree with accepting and respecting the traditions of a host country. If I were in a foreign country, I would be most interested in celebrating whatever they celebrate along with friends from that country and, conversely, when I have foreign friends in my own country, I feel honoured to be invited to celebrate their festivals and high days in their way. What I am saying, I suppose, is that Americans, Canadians, Australians and a number of other nationalities have a day set aside for Thanksgiving - a secular day which may be celebrated by anyone in whatever befits their religious affiliation but, most of all, one which transcends any such partisanship and, potentially, at least, joins everyone, of whatever persuasion, in a common act of thanksgiving. It seemed to me that an annual act such as this would be beneficial to many (and, of course, inevitably a magnet to commercialism ... but that is something that we have no alternative to accepting, unfortunately).
2 people like this
@savak03 (6691)
• United States
19 Nov 09
Since I do live in America I am very familiar with the idea of thanksgiving day. Personally, though, I prefer to take time each day to reflect on the gifts in my life and be thankful. In truth I do not see why stuffing ourselves with lots of food and drink would be a proper way to say thanks, but that is just me.
3 people like this
@BarBaraPrz (26003)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
19 Nov 09
Well, Canadian Thanksgiving has nothing to do with those Pilgrims, so I see no reason why you can't have one, too. Plus, ours is in October.
2 people like this
@BarBaraPrz (26003)
• St. Catharines, Ontario
20 Nov 09
Wikipedia has a good entry about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_%28Canada%29 Basically, it's a harvest festival.
@ElicBxn (61149)
• United States
19 Nov 09
actually, its next thursday...
2 people like this
@owlwings (42107)
• Cambridge, England
19 Nov 09
I don't see anywhere where I have suggested that it's this Thursday (i.e. today). I said 'On this day ...' meaning 'the day I am referring to (i.e. Thanksgiving), not 'this day that I am writing this', so your response is out of order. Why don't you address the question instead of posting pointless information? You get a minus point!
2 people like this
@urbandekay (18308)
14 Feb 10
No, US already has a corrosive effect on our culture all the best urban
2 people like this
• Philippines
20 Nov 09
Well, we do have our own way of celebrating our Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, every province in our country has its own day of fiesta and gala celebration as a way of thanking its birth and discovery. An annual celebration wouldn't be necessary in our country but it is a good idea if you have one their in Britain.
@bellis716 (4804)
• United States
20 Nov 09
As a Christian, I believe that the whole world would be much better off if each person would thank their creator daily for all he has done for us. As a citizen of the US, I would be happy to share our Thanksgiving Day with anyone and everyone.
2 people like this
@dawnald (84078)
• Shingle Springs, California
19 Nov 09
Our Thanksgiving is commemorating a specific event, though it's turned into much more than that. But I see no reason why people in other countries shouldn't set a day aside to gather with their loved ones, give thanks for their blessings, etc. Though it doesn't have to be an institutionalized thing, it could be a personal thing that people do with friends an family every so often.
2 people like this
19 Nov 09
Yes i think we should celebrate our own thankgiving. We all have things to be thankful for. Even if it's just being thankful to be alive.
@savypat (20245)
• United States
19 Nov 09
What I think is that giving thanks is a great reason to give a party, if we all took time to do this each country could include this celebration in their holidays.
@PeacefulWmn9 (10424)
• United States
20 Nov 09
This American says: thank you, Brit! I do agree, though, that each country has it things for which to be thankful, and as such, it is good to designate a special day devoted specifically to gratitude :) Karen
1 person likes this
@owlwings (42107)
• Cambridge, England
20 Nov 09
Well, if you don't mind, Peaceful, I personally shall 'borrow' yours, at least in spirit. As I said, I have a number of American friends and like to take a virtual place at their tables (I eat very little on such occasions, so there is no worry that the turkey won't go round or that the pumpkin pie slices will be any smaller!) I have only once celebrated a Thanksgiving in the accustomed manner when I was visiting a British ex-pat friend who now farms alpacas in California.
2 people like this
• United States
23 Nov 09
You are most welcome to do exactly that. The big feast will be Thursday evening, 6 pm US time :))
@Asylum (48055)
• Manchester, England
28 Nov 15
Thanksgiving is only tentatively associate with Britain because the Pilgrim Fathers fled the persecution in England and found a new life in the colonies.
1 person likes this
• India
20 Nov 09
We don’t really have any annual Thanksgiving Day here in India but I believe that each and every culture, irrespective of religious beliefs, has its own way of thanking God and nature for Their grace and kindness and bounty bestowed upon us. India too has its own regional festivities depending on the harvest time, as we are predominantly an agrarian society since ancient times. However, one thing I must say is that I really don’t understand why you think its bad that festivities are more commercialized now than ever before! You are not the first one though but I like the idea of splurging and having fun once or twice a year. Yes, it does add up to extra financial burden on most of us but then we all are struggling so much throughout the year (more so now with the economic nosedive) that it’s a welcome change for me to have an excuse of going out and buying whatever my heart wishes (of course there’s a budget LOL) even then its really wonderful to see the magic in the air and people all dressed up and meeting friends and family, exchanging gifts, having a good time and taking a well deserved break from the routine life.
1 person likes this
@liquorice (3901)
19 Nov 09
Well, that's a nice idea. I like the idea of celebrating getting rid of all those troublesome Puritans, that made me laugh, lol! And yes it would be nice to have a (non-religious) holiday where we think about all the things that we have to be thankful for. It's so easy to spend (or waste) time moaning about our lot in life, when we should be feeling lucky for all the good things that we have (including myLot of course! ). And I've always thought that Thanksgiving seems like a really happy holiday, with lots of food, family and merriment, it would be nice to be able to share in that, and make it a special family (and friend) day for all of us. Maybe it could even go world-wide? Perhaps other countries would like to celebrate the fact that they didn't get a load of troublesome pilgrims? Only joking, ). A Thanksgiving for the world sounds like a very good idea.
1 person likes this
@pumpkinjam (7095)
• United Kingdom
21 Nov 09
I think of Christmas as a time to do that. And I try to be thankful every day. I understand what you are saying and I might seem cynical but I think if it happened, it would just end up being yet another day where retailers can make money out of nothing. It's unfortunate but it is true that we already have Christmas, Valentine's Day and now Hallowe'en seems to be getting more popular and rather than people celebrating the meaning behind them (although plenty still do) they have all been commercialised too much and I would be afraid that the same thing would happen to Thanksgiving.