This weekend marks the Canadian celebration of Thanksgiving, and this evening my fiance and I had the pleasure of hosting our very first Thanksgiving dinner. It was not a lavish affair, and her mother prepared the Turkey, though we did make some ham, maple glazed carrots, mashed potatoes and home made cranberry sauce. The conversation was muted as people seemed to be enjoying their fare, which is always an excellent method of telling if they liked your cooking or not ;).
I do see this time as a period of reflection, and seems fitting that it leads up to Oíche Shamhna and the beginning of the dark half of the year. I am beginning to make a habit of including civil holidays into my practices, and understanding them through a GP context. I do usually cook a nice meal on Oíche Shamhna, fitting as it is the traditional end of the harvest in Gaelic communities.Thanksgiving has been a staple celebration in my family, where feasting is mandatory, for as long as I can remember. It is also a decidedly family oriented event, about sharing the bounty of the harvest and the blessing we have received, and hope to receive in the following year.
I find it is an excellent time to begin intensifying the inclusion of worship of the honoured dead, culminating on Oíche Shamhna, and extending into November for Remembrance Day, when we honour those who fell in defense of our nation. Of course for those who are not Canadian, Thanksgiving occurs later in the calendar year. There being no Rememberence day, Veterans Day is celebrated at the same time, and Memorial Day occurring in May, its applicability is perhaps less so. Nonetheless, I do find myself very mindful of the ancestors around this time of the year, but then again liminality will do that.
So what am I thankful for? I am thankful for my fiance, for my hound and for my family. I am thankful for being on the road to what I am supposed to be doing with my life. I am thankful for the guidance of the gods, the sacrifices of the ancestors and the beneficence of the land spirits.