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Share the noble joys of Thanksgiving with your American friends

By Sava Hassan | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2017-11-20 11:11

The opinions expressed here are those of the writer and do not represent the views of China Daily and China Daily website.

Parade atmosphere seen during the 90th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 24, 2016 in New York City. [Photo:VCG]

As a spiritual individual, I seize every opportunity to rejoice in the celebration of any event that brings people together from all walks of life.

Those festive occasions allow us the chance to forget all about our conflicts and communicate with each other on the basis of being equal members of the human race, regardless of our gender, race or religion.

The American Thanksgiving transcends distance and all other differences to bring members of American families and their friends together to share sumptuous meals and offer thanks to God for the blessings that were generously bestowed upon them.

Some people perceive Thanksgiving as a religious event. However, in actual life, it is more of a social occasion rather than an event associated with a particular religion. To celebrate it, Americans travel thousands of miles to be with families and friends.

Prior to venturing into the details of the celebration, I would like to give a brief background about the event.

Thanksgiving Day is a major holiday that takes place on the fourth Thursday of November every year in the USA and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

The celebration was designated to mark the harvest festival. At first, it was observed on and off after the 1789 proclamation by President George Washington. In 1864, it became a federal holiday. Thanksgiving precedes the Christmas and New Year festivities. It is considered one of the major holidays in the USA.

Americans take advantage of having a long weekend during Thanksgiving to reconnect with their relatives and friends. Airports and other transportation hubs handle millions of passengers who are anxious to reunite with their families and friends.

This year, the Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated Thursday, Nov 23. On this day families and friends will gather around the dinner table to feast on a variety of delicious dishes such as roasted turkey, ham, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pecan and pumpkin pies, while sipping leisurely from their drinks and exchanging views and news.

While relaxing, they may reminisce about their beautiful memories from previous celebrations. In some families, each person might take turns to proclaim to God the blessings for which they are grateful.

For those who are less fortunate, such as the homeless or those with no family, charitable organizations hold dinner parties to feed them with common Thanksgiving dishes.

Some American cities hold Thanksgiving parades, which are enjoyable feasts to watch, especially for families. One of the most amazing parades is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is held in New York City. It features floats with themes from specific Broadway plays and cartoon characters.

I do believe that it is important to be familiar with traditional festivities in a particular country to attain competence in its language. Consequently, during my teaching assignments, I usually allocate classes to familiarize my students with the major American holidays such as Thanksgiving.

During those classes, I frequently pose this question to each one of my students: "What are you thankful for?" My objective is to teach them to appreciate their blessings.

Bearing in mind the fact that it is hard to be away from family during the Thanksgiving holiday, some generous Chinese establishments will hold Thanksgiving dinner parties to permit Americans in China to celebrate the event with their peers and Chinese friends.

I hope that on Nov 23, my fellow Chinese will take a moment of their precious time to share the noble joys of the celebration with their American friends, colleagues, neighbors and even strangers.

Sharing joyful occasions with other nationalities may help narrow the gap of differences between their citizens.

At last, I must seize this opportunity to wish all Americans in China a very enjoyable Thanksgiving Day.

Sava Hassan is a Canadian Egyptian educator.

  
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