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“Thanksgiving” in Tasmania

When we lived in the USA, Thanksgiving was my favourite holiday – the one that the retailers seems unable to commercialise in spite of their best efforts; a holiday devoted to something as simple as sharing a delicious turkey dinner and giving thanks for one’s blessings and the company of family, friends and neighbours (sadly these days, there are many families for whom this is the only meal they share together the whole year). I always loved the perhaps romantic notion of almost everyone in the whole nation sitting down together for a meal around the same time.

I wanted to keep the simple tradition alive, even though it is still a bit perplexing for a family here unfamiliar with the concept of pilgrims and pumpkin pie, to sit down to a meal of turkey and mashed potatoes on a warm Tasmanian late spring afternoon. Consequently it would never work to have the event on the traditional third Thursday in November since any family gathering here usually involves champagne and music-making and rowdy card games played late into the night.

But I realised that it’s still possible to keep the tradition of eating a meal with a whole nation because the time difference means that we can have our dinner on Friday evening which is still Thanksgiving Day in the USA. And so long as they’re able to have a delicious meal in the company of good friends and family, not to mention champagne and many other blessings that we are thankful for in this, Australia, the “lucky country”, it doesn’t really matter that the traditions and the day and the country of origin don’t quite fit. Giving thanks is a great idea, no matter which lucky country you’re living in.

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