Tag Archive | giving thanks

Giving Thanks Around the world

"Give thanks around the wordl"Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest withTthanksgiving ceremonies.

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.

The Greeks

The ancient Greeks worshipped many gods and goddesses. Their goddess of corn (actually all grains) was Demeter who was honored at the festival of Thesmosphoria held each autumn.

On the first day of the festival married women (possibility connecting childbearing and the raising of crops) would build leafy shelters and furnish them with couches made with plants. On the second day they fasted. On the third day a feast was held and offerings to the goddess Demeter were made – gifts of seed corn, cakes, fruit, and pigs. It was hoped that Demeter’s gratitude would grant them a good harvest.

The Romans

The Romans also celebrated a harvest festival called Cerelia, which honored Ceres their goddess of corn (from which the word cereal comes). The festival was held each year on October 4th and offerings of the first fruits of the harvest and pigs were offered to Ceres. Their celebration included music, parades, games and sports and a thanksgiving feast.

The Chinese

The ancient Chinese celebrated their harvest festival, Chung Ch’ui, with the full moon that fell on the 15th day of the 8th month. This day was considered the birthday of the moon and special “moon cakes”, round and yellow like the moon, would be baked. Each cake was stamped with the picture of a rabbit – as it was a rabbit, not a man, which the Chinese saw on the face of the moon.

The families ate a thanksgiving meal and feasted on roasted pig, harvested fruits and the “moon cakes”. It was believed that during the 3 day festival flowers would fall from the moon and those who saw them would be rewarded with good fortune.

According to legend Chung Ch’ui also gave thanks for another special occasion. China had been conquered by enemy armies who took control of the Chinese homes and food. The Chinese found themselves homeless and with no food. Many staved. In order to free themselves they decided to attack the invaders.

The women baked special moon cakes which were distributed to every family. In each cake was a secret message which contained the time for the attack. When the time came the invaders were surprised and easily defeated. Every year moon cakes are eaten in memory of this victory.

The Hebrews

Jewish families also celebrate a harvest festival called Sukkoth. Taking place each autumn, Sukkoth has been celebrated for over 3000 years.

Sukkoth is know by 2 names – Hag ha Succot – the Feast of the Tabernacles and Hag ha Asif – the Feast of Ingathering. Sukkoth begins on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Tishri, 5 days after Yom Kippur, the most solemn day of the Jewish year.

Sukkoth is named for the huts (succots) that Moses and the Israelites lived in as they wandered the desert for 40 years before they reached the Promised Land. These huts were made of branches and were easy to assemble, take apart, and carry as the Israelites wandered through the desert.

When celebrating Sukkoth, which lasts for 8 days, the Jewish people build small huts of branches which recall the tabernacles of their ancestors. These huts are constructed as temporary shelters, as the branches are not driven into the ground and the roof is covered with foliage which is spaced to let the light in. Inside the huts are hung fruits and vegetables, including apples, grapes, corn, and pomegranates. On the first 2 nights of Sukkoth the families eat their meals in the huts under the evening sky.

The Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians celebrated their harvest festival in honor of Min, their god of vegetation and fertility. The festival was held in the springtime, the Egyptian’s harvest season.

The festival of Min featured a parade in which the Pharaoh took part. After the parade a great feast was held. Music, dancing, and sports were also part of the celebration.

When the Egyptian farmers harvested their corn, they wept and pretended to be grief-stricken. This was to deceive the spirit which they believed lived in the corn. They feared the spirit would become angry when the farmers cut down the corn where it lived.


Share Words of Thanks

One of my good friends Teresa Morrow of Key Business Partners shared this with me last year.

Scramble and Share 

Rearrange (scrabble) the following 10 words that evoke the holiday (or use ones that have meaning for you). eg Thanks could be hksnat, Giving could be gnviig and so forth.
apple pieYou present the scrambled words (individually) to everyone on a chalkboard or printed and handed out to everyone one at a time. Ask them to raise their hands to say if they know the word. If they do know the word and they guess it correctly, then they get to share a special memory to them that describes that word.  Don’t worry if you don’t to make it to all 10, if the conversation gets so great after 4, then let it be.


Just a few more days to order your holiday centerpiece at Eden Florist.

Speaking of Forks… Giving Thanks

The Talking Fork

This old storytelling game has been around forever, but it just might do the trick when the kids have cleaned their plates and are ready to fly out the door again. Just ask: “Did everybody use a fork?” They’ll all nod.

“Good. If you just used a fork, then you owe the cook a magic memory. I will now unveil The Talking Fork.” Puzzled looks will follow. “I cooked this meal. And before we all leave, I want to hear some good, fun, magic family memories. Here’s the Talking Fork. I’ll go first.” Then pick up a fork around which you’ve tied a ribbon — a nice, big serving fork is good for dramatic effect — and begin. (Source: FamilyEducation.com)

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A Thanksgiving Activity by the Numbers

Giving Thanks by the Numbers

Have your guests chose a number between 1 and 5 and put it in the Thanksgiving box. When they draw it out they have to talk about the number of things they are most thankful for to them right now (corresponding with the number they draw). E.g. –  If you draw a “one” you can share one thing, and so on… Of course, if folks want to share more, and they will… that is great and really adds to the discussion.  This is a good thing to do around the table during desert or to kick-off the meal celebration.

Be sure to order your holiday centerpiece early!  Go to EdenFlorist.com and see what’s on special!

A Box of Thanks!

The Thanksgiving Box

One year I asked everyone to write down what they were grateful for and put it in the Thanksgiving Box (a shoebox which I decorated just for the occassion). During desert each person drew out a piece of paper from the box and read what was on it. They could either guess who wrote it or the person could simply tell us it was her or him.

Be sure to order flowers for your Thanksgiving celebration at Eden Florist.

Thanksgiving Activities that Rock!

Every year I host Thanksgiving dinner and like to incorporate some sort of “activity” into the meal. Here’s a list of things we have done as well as some sent to us by friends. We would love to hear your ideas too. If you have an activity or tradition in your home, we would be delighted to learn of it and post it to this page. You can send your idea to heidi@edenflorist.com with Thanksgiving Traditions in the subject line.

Every day this week I will be posting a new activity to Tulips Talk. Here’s the first one

One year my daughters and I painted different words on river rocks and then put them in small (2 inch) bags decorated for fall. We placed them on a tray and at the end of the meal (during desert) we asked everyone to pick a bag from the bowl. We then asked each person what the word they had chosen meant to them. Some of the words we used included: Thanks, Gratitude, Freedom, Love, Sacrifice, Friendship, Family, Joy, Attitude, Health, Fun, and Laughter.

Be sure to order flowers for your Thanksgiving Table from Eden Florist. We deliver around the corner or around the world.