Wednesday, November 27, 2013


Tomorrow is Thanksgiving in the United States, our harvest feast of abundance. It's a pagan ritual, meant to let the gods know we wish to be well fed through the long cold winter. There is a sacrifice, of course, the homely turkey. In addition to the centerpiece of the meal, it's traditional to feast on mashed potatoes, gravy, the weird green bean and fried onions casserole, (weird to me), etc. There must be pie, if you wish to be traditional. Thanksgiving foods stick to your ribs. It's part of the ritual.

In order for the ritual to work properly, there should be at least a little more of everything than is absolutely necessary. There should be too much food, too much drink. There should be a crowd of people around the table. Celebrants should plan to eat and drink a little too much. Also, there must be leftovers.

In American society, this poses something of a problem since our cultural ideal at the moment celebrates those who don't eat enough. I'm not complaining; in every society, there's stuff about food. You could say that every society has some kind of eating disorder. After all, if we do not eat, we will die.

Perhaps I shouldn't worry so much about how people celebrate this feast. After all, winter is no longer a long, dark, scary season for we Americans. In fact, Thanksgiving is not generally thought of as a ritual. It's a holiday, a time of gathering for family and loved ones. If people decide to pick at their food, what's it to me?

I am such a traditionalist!

I wish you a wonderful feast, no matter how you celebrate it. May you never hunger, may you never thirst. May it be a gentle winter. May it be so.

The ritual sacrifice, elegantly presented.

1 comment:

Kerry said...

I love the rituals surrounding holidays. I hope you have a wonderful warm Thanksgiving with your sister and family in Oregon.