National Observance: Celebrate diversity this Thanksgiving

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 25: Prepare your stomach and put that stuffing in the oven early today: It’s Thanksgiving! (Get answers to all of your questions about the first Thanksgiving at the site of the Plimoth Plantation.) While not watching football, most Americans will be spending today gathering with family and friends, enjoying a tantalizing feast and giving thanks for life’s blessings. (Get lots of recipe ideas at AllRecipes.)

Today’s commemoration may be in recognition of the English colonists’ autumn harvest feast, but religious groups around the world have been celebrating festivals of thanks for centuries. The Native Americans who participated in the English colonists’ feast had, in fact, several festivals of thanks throughout the year. (Wikipedia has details.) The colonists’ Thanksgiving feast lasted for three days, but the modern-day celebration just lasts for one day. (Kids—get craft ideas, easy recipes and more at Kaboose.)

Interfaith Thanksgiving services are becoming more popular across the country, and ReadTheSpirit has featured a story on giving thanks for diversity in America. The New York Times also featured an article on recent interfaith Thanksgiving services in the Big Apple.

This year, if you’re feeling especially thankful, try going an extra mile by sparing a turkey its life: according to statistics from USA Today, more than 46 million turkeys are raised for the annual American Thanksgiving. Feeling moved to make a difference? Try an elaborate meal without a turkey this year. Or adopt a turkey through Farm Sanctuary, a non-profit set of shelters in New York and California. (Read the article on USA Today’s website.) Even without the Adopt-A-Turkey certificate and color photo of the turkey you’ve saved, you’ll know that you won’t be the only one giving thanks this year!

Want more fresh holiday ideas from the East? Read columnist Lynne Schreiber’s story about wisdom from Vedanta involving the food we eat.

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