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José G. Galindo

¿Por qué dar gracias? Una breve reflexión sobre el sentido del Día de Acción de Gracias.

All of us have many blessings in our lives, although sometimes they may not be so evident. It is never a wrong moment to stop and give thanks, and there is no better moment to do it than on Thanksgiving Day, the third Thursday of November every year.

Thanksgiving is a time of gratefulness. It is most commonly celebrated in the United States of America. Each year, families and friends join together to give thanks for all of their blessings. What is the origin of this tradition?

Thanksgiving was first celebrated in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Native Americans. They joined to celebrate the peace between each other and to thank for all their harvest. The original celebration lasted around three days, with singing, dancing, eating, and games. Although these two groups were very different, they were willing to push their differences aside and to acknowledge all of the blessings in their lives.

Thanksgiving is special, it has a very deep meaning. This season is all about giving thanks. Unlike Halloween, absolutely nothing is fictional. People deal with hard, solid facts and reflect on what has happened throughout the year and throughout their entire lives.

Let’s take a look at why this Holiday is special from another standpoint. Think of Christmas. You have probably received, or given, a present to a loved one or to a friend. You have probably set up a tree. Thanksgiving does not require these things. This time is more about what really matters, about love, about friendship, and about feelings. In the end, that is what defines your thanksgiving. You may be the richest man in the world, but you cannot buy presents to satisfy yourself. Again, the greatness of your Thanksgiving is determined by your love for others and your love for what you have received.

There is yet another thing that makes thanksgiving stand out. Many religions have many different holidays: the Jewish faith celebrates Hanukkah while the Roman Catholic faith celebrates Christmas. Thanksgiving does not belong to one specific faith. Giving thanks for what you have is something universal and therefore is not attributed to a single faith. Instead, it is done by everyone around the globe.

Finally, what do you physically do on thanksgiving? One of the traditions that are mostly done on this holiday is having a big feast; usually consisting of turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and a pie for dessert. Families and friends may also play games. One game that my family always plays is Monopoly. Another popular game is one where everyone in the family answers questions and people must guess who answered what. Also, since there are great football matches during Thanksgiving (around three taking place throughout the day), followers of the sport come together to watch their favorite teams play.

Next thanksgiving, think about everything you have received; from spotting a small flower to winning the lottery. No matter how life-changing or modest the gift is, we should acknowledge it and give thanks.