When I was a little girl, I studied about festival days, one of which was Thanksgiving. The teacher taught her students that this was a festival of gratitude for a successful harvest. At that time, I was very timid, so I was not brave enough to ask any more. Therefore I always wondered why people didn’t call the other name and why that festival appears. Where did it originate? Why doesn’t it have a day in Viet Nam? Why isn’t it as popular as Christmas, Middle Autumn, etc.?

Up to now, I knew some information about the original festival. I will share it with you. As I knew, in 1620, there was a group of travelers who passed the Atlantic Ocean and arrived in America the sail. For two months, they floated in ocean, they encountered many dangerous rainstorms, they sang Bible songs to overcome fright, and hoped for help from God. On December 11, 1620, after 66 days in the ocean, some members of the group died because they met the extremely frosty severity of the winter. However, in the spring of 1621, a native taught those who survived methods to cultivate agricultural plants. In the summer of 1621, with serious droughts, they held a day of vegetarian meals and prayed God to bless for them a good crop next time. With the native’s helping, they knew how to grow vegetables to help themselves survive. In the autumn of 1621, they held a big party in order to express their gratitude for the favor which God granted for them. That party is called The First Thanksgiving Feast.

            The first Thanksgiving Day was held in 1621, but not until Abraham Lincoln was President did that festival become a day for their country. He thought that the things which his country received were important. They hadn’t been created by themselves. God created and helped them overcome heartache, disaster, etc. So, they proclaimed a national holiday to give thanks. In Viet Nam, Thanksgiving Day wasn’t widespread as in the other countries.

To express gratitude is a moral action of a good cultured person.

            Although ethnic groups and religions are different, Vietnamese are also affected strongly by their daily life. When someone works, gets married, builds a house, etc, they believe in God, whom they adore, and ask for support and for a favor. Before starting to do any work, everybody also expresses sincerity through a party to help them finish their work fast, successfully and safely. And after finishing any work, despite success or failure, they also hold a small or big party to express their gratitude towards their God. Normally, this party was held after they had finished work. For the farmer, they have a ceremony after a harvest, or a festival to celebrate a yield of more than usual, and include games and entertainment. Particularly, Vietnamese minorities who still keep their own traditionally held ceremonies in order to pray for harvests and crops in their village where they live.

However, Vietnamese don’t have an officially Thanksgiving Day as in United States and also in other countries..

            So, on this occasion I hope Thanksgiving will be more popular so everybody can express gratefulness for the things which they received today not only in the harvest but also in their spirit life.
               Knowing about the origin of Thanksgiving will help us see the meaning of the festival more clearly. We continue to receive the grace of God, so we still need to present thanks to God.

Bé Quyên_12TA

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