So did anyone out there make a difference this week? Did you affect positive change within your company? Start a small promotional campaign after reading my last post? Or were you all upset to find out that Microsoft Windows 7 was not just your idea? I know I was devastated but at the same time, quite happy to see that other people thought unstable OS’s are just not tolerable anymore. In any event, I hope that you did do something positive and if you’d like a forum to brag about it, feel free to write me.
It dawned on me this week that while everyone celebrates a day off work, (heck, who likes working anyway), not everyone knows why we celebrate a holiday. With the holidays around the corner, I thought I’d help everyone by providing a refresher course on importance of the last Thursday in November, otherwise known around here as Turkey Day. Admittedly, I did not remember all of the details, so I too, had to read up to. One of the most interesting facts I stumbled upon was that it took 66 days to travel the 2750 miles to America. That’s roughly 41 miles a day or 1.7 miles an hour! I bet you’d drive yourself nuts walking that slow to the bathroom, let alone, for over a two month period on the Atlantic Ocean! Talking about perseverance!
Surprisingly, though, the story of Thanksgiving, starts well before the pilgrims sailed the big blue in 1620 (Not to be confused with when Christopher Columbus discovered the New World 1492).
According to thanksmuch.com “Before the establishment of formal religions, many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits. Harvest festivals and Thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians.”
Fast forward hundreds of years to 1620’s, and our first Thanksgiving celebrated not just a spiritual release, but, life. You see, the pilgrims arrived in the New World (like many other immigrants to follow thought-out years), with just the clothes on their back and a strong yearning for freedom. However, the pilgrims were missing the one key ingredient for a sustainable life: food. After the 41 day voyage across the sea, most of everything they brought with them was either consumed or rotted. With little food, the Pilgrims struggled immediately upon arrival. To complicate the situation, they arrived in November at the start of winter. Many became ill and few died from the cold and lack of proper nourishment.
What a depressing start to the story, right? But the joy comes after the turmoil and like the Phoenix, the Pilgrims too, would rise from the ashes. Soon after the winter begin, the Pilgrims developed a relationship with the Natives. The Indians, who had been living in the New World for quite some time, knew how to harvest, had stock piles of food, and had been through many cold winters. In exchange for man power and small gifts from the homeland, the Indians shared knowledge and food with the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims would quickly learn how to fish, hunt, and harvest essential grains. Working together, the Indians and the Pilgrims became more efficient and life for both of them flourished.
And thus Thanksgiving was the celebration of survival through that first winter and the bounty of crops harvested throughout the spring. Now it would take until 1941 for the holiday to be officially written in by Congress, but it was celebrated by many including President’s Washington and Lincoln in the fall each year.
Now, what can we all take from this story? Easy! We should all be more thankful for the relationships in our life that help us make who we are today. For without good people (friends, customers, co-workers, bosses, and many others) in your life, we too, would be like Pilgrims trying to weather a storm of certain death. So to all of my family members, friends, men and women protecting our freedom, suppliers, and our customers…