I Thank Ye

If you ask me what holiday in the USA is the most American I would probably point to Thanksgiving. It is absolutely non-political, non-religious, personal, and kind. Sometimes you wonder why more countries do not adopt this tradition to their calendars.

US flag in the Central Business District of New Orleans
US flag in the Central Business District of New Orleans

Sure enough, Independence Day is a strong contender with its fireworks and national pride, just like Christmas is also great with its spirit of hopeful magic. But then this magic does not quite include non-Christians (which is not quite American, or at least not quite PC-American), and Independence Day is something that is too obvious and that every country has.

Thanksgiving, on the other hand, is something almost uniquely American (forget about Canada and Liberia), uniquely religious-free (forget that it is rooted in Protestant Reformation and very religious Puritans), and truly giving (forget Christmas, which is actually about receiving). So, on second thought, I would definitely pick Thanksgiving if asked about a truly American holiday. Thank you for asking, by the way!

With all the rage going on around, we can still be thankful that Trump hasn’t implemented all of his electoral promises, that he and his friend Kim Jong-un prefer to flirt on Twitter, that not all famous actors and singers have fallen victim of their less famous female colleagues’ accusations (yet), that Putin hasn’t closed the new Iron Curtain, that… So many “that”s that I could go on and on – you get the picture. But somehow, Thanksgiving is still not about politics. Common folks rush to their families or friends, away from office life, television and newspapers, to the proverbial turkey and coming Black Friday anticipation. The festive season begins and will last until New Year’s Eve in the hope that nothing sad happens in the coming month or so.

We do not have Thanksgiving in Russia. Instead, we have a certain day (or even a few) when everybody asks forgiveness (and yes, it is somehow related to a religious calendar). Not a national holiday though. If you think about it, this day is also about receiving (somebody’s pardon) in the end, not about giving. What unites those two traditions is that sometimes it is hard to either give thanks or ask for forgiveness. However, giving thanks is definitely more optimistic. So, I would not mind if we had such a day on our calendar.

Yet I do not need any red letter to mark a wonderful occasion to send my sincere thanks to people that have done something good for me. Being blessed with quite a number of such people I never fail to spend at least some time every fourth Thursday of November sending them messages. This time is, however, so small compared to how much I have received from them all. And paying them back with just a few minutes once a year is not an unreasonable price.

So, I thank all of my friends and acquaintances, all of the people who have done me any good, all the people who have done me no harm, and all the people who have enriched my life in any way, however minor. And let me also ask them all for forgiveness for not thanking them enough.

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