We don’t do Thanskgiving in Australia. It’s pretty obvious why. To quote from Wikipedia, “The event that Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. This feast lasted three days, and it was attended by 90 Native Americans (as accounted by attendee Edward Winslow) and 53 Pilgrims.”
I think that’s one of the very big differences between the creation of the US, and the creation of Australia. The pilgrims wanted to go and start a new world, based on Christianity. The Australian colonies were penal settlements. The convicts didn’t have a choice. Having said that, everybody was pleased as punch to get off those boats when the first fleet landed in what is now Sydney Harbour.
In sharp contrast to the American family feast and prayer, the events in the new Australian colony were quite different. “After safely arriving at Sydney Cove, a violent storm with thunder, lightning and the whole shebang blew up; seven sheep altogether, were toasted by the lightning. I don’t know if it was the fear, or the smell of cooked lamb, but First Fleet journals report a wild orgy taking place that night, which in the light of there being 570 male convicts and 189 female convicts, is worrisome (there are also times when it is prudent to suspend imagination).” From Inforbarrel. Which possibly explains why it is traditional to eat lamb on Australia Day. The rest is a matter of personal preference.
Anyway, It’s sad to note that Thanksgiving, like every other public celebration in the Western world, has become a money-spinning opportunity for retailers. On the day itself it seems to be all about food. But the day after, Black Friday, is the American day for the Big Sales, where hordes of people almost bust down the doors of the shops in an unseemly rush to spend their dollars. In Australia we do that on Boxing Day, the day after Christmas. I cringe every time I see the pictures.
But getting back to Thanksgiving. It’s a time of counting your blessings, and that’s not a bad thing to do. Here are a few of mine.
1. I’m 64. Many, many people never have that privilege
2. I’m a white woman living in a Western country
3. I live in Australia
4. I’m comfortably off without being rich
5. I’m in good health
6. I’m educated, and I’m smart
7. I’m in a happy marriage to a man I respect (and that L word)
8. I live near the sea and I have a camera
9. I’m surrounded by birds (and I have a camera)
10. I write books, but if I don’t sell many, it doesn’t really matter
11. Thank you, internet, from bringing me real friends I can relate to.
And a wonderful Thanksgiving to all my American friends.