As I write this, Thanksgiving is around the calendar corner. I’m giving personal thanks for not having to cook the feast this year. My niece has volunteered. (The last two years she was my guest and voiced candid thanks that she didn’t have to be the cook!)
I don’t know how the turkey became the edible symbol of the day. Legend has it that the Pilgrims dined on Rock Cornish hens. In a spirit of racial harmony that we might emulate, they shared the feast with people they mistakenly called “Indians.” (Interesting that the Pilgrims were the immigrants!)
This year Thanksgiving coincides with Chanukah, the Jewish “Festival of Lights.” It’s become competitive with Christmas for many Jewish children. But the real meaning of this holiday is that more than 2000 years ago a small band of inspired men (Maccabees) was able to defeat a far larger more formidable enemy and overcome persecution ¬– proving that faith is a strong weapon. So strong, that when they wanted to rededicate the Temple, but there was only enough oil to light the sacred lamp for one night, the oil miraculously burned for eight days.
I discovered recently that another religion also has a “Festival of Lights.” It’s called Diwali (or Deepavali) and is a national Hindu holiday celebrated between the middle of October and mid-November, in India and a number of other places including Nepal, Malasia, and Singapore, among others. The holiday lasts for five days and each day the people perform a different traditional activity. On the fifth day, it’s customary for sisters to invite their brothers to their homes. This is intriguing to think about when our holidays often stir up family discord and sibling rivalry .
”Light” can have a variety of meanings, , so I’d like to share the most poignant use of this word that I’ve ever heard. My elderly widowed brother-in-law introduced us to the woman he now loves as, “the light of my late years.”
This Thanksgiving and Chanukah I will give thanks for everything and every person who brings light into my life – and whose life I hope I give light to.
Meaningful holidays to all.
BOOKS: “Widow’s Walk”- available through iUniverse.com; “Turning Toward Tomorrow”- xLibris.com; “Ten Women of Valor” – CreateSpace.com & Amazon.com. Also AmazonKindle.