Today, October 8 is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. In the monastery where I am staying until Thursday, the Sisters decorated the chapel with the fruits of the Earth: pumpkins, squashes, ears of corn, onions, and so on.
Our chef roasted two turkeys and baked a delicious pumpkin pie. As an exception, we had a glass of wine at lunch.
The whole weekend is Thanksgiving Day. One of the workers in the kitchen said that she celebrated Thanksgiving yesterday, with thirty-five people in her small house!
Some Canadians prefer to go for a hike and enjoy the special colors of the trees in this season.
In Canada, Thanksgiving Day is related to the traditional harvest festival. In a sense, it is different from that in The United States. The dates of the two celebrations don’t coincide, as well as their symbolic meanings.
In my hometown Enna, we have a few celebrations related to the harvest. Some of them date back to the time of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture.
One day, I asked a friend of mine, “Can you imagine a world without celebrations and rites? Being outside rites means to be outside life.”
“I don’t think so. For me all days are the same,” he answered.
“How can you say that! Without rites there is no human life, indeed. Everyone conforms to festivity, celebrations and rites.”
“I am different from others. Getting over rites and rituals is my aim.”
“So, you don’t celebrate anything!”
“No, I don’t. Everyday I have a celebration in my heart. I am beyond rites and rituals,” he said.
On Thursday, I am leaving for Korea. There, I’ll find different traditions, but people’s heart doesn’t differ.
Ettore Grillo, author of
– A Hidden Sicilian History
– The Vibrations of Words
– Travels of the Mind