There's a long tradition of harvest-time celebrations and thanksgiving celebrations.
Every autumn, the ancient Greeks held a three-day festival to honor Demeter, the goddess of corn and grains.
The Romans honored Ceres, their goddess of corn. The celebration included music, parades, games, sports and a feast, much like the modern American Thanksgiving.
The ancient Chinese held a harvest festival called Chung Ch'ui to celebrate the harvest moon. Families would get together for a feast, which included round yellow cakes called "moon cakes."
In the British Isles, the major Thanksgiving forerunner was a harvest festival called Lammas Day, named for the Old English words for "loaf" and "mass." On Lammas Day, everyone would come to church with a loaf of bread made from the first wheat harvest. The church would bless the bread, in thanks for that year's harvest.
(thanks to howstuffworks.com for the info!!)
I've been around for fifty two Thanksgiving celebrations. The following come to mind:
The first one I have concrete memories of was when I was seven. We were in a new house that had a whole bunch more space but was lacking furniture. Family members brought folding chairs and tray tables and all of us kids ate sitting on the floor. It was so much fun!
One year when I was a teenager, we lost power before the meal was done. There was a raging storm happening and everyone pitched in to hold umbrellas or move food from the house to the outside grill and back. The meal turned out perfectly. We ate by candle light. It was incredible.
My daughter was born in July. On her first Thanksgiving, hubby and I decided we were going to go to his Mom's house, his Dad's house and my parents house all on Thanksgiving day. It was hours of driving. The weather was terrible. It brought joy to all the grandparents but hubby and I weren't speaking by the end of the night!!
We had days and days of rain before Thanksgiving day 1999. We were hosting my Mom and Dad and their two best friends. My parents were very, very formal - dressing for the holiday was a given. We had our three dogs, two foster dogs and two cats at the time. Our tiny back yard was a sea of mud. I obsessed for days to my Mom about my worries that my floors would be dirty, the animals would jump on them with dirty feet, etc. Imagine our surprise and shock and utter delight when we opened our front door that Thanksgiving to find them dressed in their finest clothes but covered from head to toe in clear plastic bags!!!!!
For the last eleven years, on Thanksgiving day, my brother and his family and my family go out for dinner after watching Lions football. I cook the traditional meal on the weekend after the holiday because I love doing it and that always seems to work better with everyone's busy schedule.
Have a wonderful holiday!