Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 19 – Thanksgiving Ritual

Kids can be really smart, creative and ingenious if you give them the chance! That is what I discovered over the Thanksgiving weekend. I was taking care of my nieces on Thanksgiving Day and while the little kids were down for their afternoon nap, my oldest niece, Kylie (7 years), and I were discussing about the meaning of Thanksgiving. I was explaining to her that Thanksgiving was a day where we give thanks for all the food that was harvested throughout the summer. The usual tradition in our family is to go around the table and to tell everyone what we were thankful in the past year. But, Kylie, being Kylie, thought that our normal practice would simply not do to mark such an important occasion. Being the colourful and creative girl she is, she decided that this year our family would do a much more grandiose gesture. She then asked if I (and I quote) “could help her prepare an event to thank Mother Nature for all the great things she gives us in nature to survive.” (Did I mention that she is brilliant?)

This is what she came up with!

The event (more like a ritual) took elements of our normal tradition, but infused a bit of nature loving witchiness in it (good witches of course).  That afternoon Kylie set up a white sheet and decorated it with candles, flowers and a basket. As the master of ceremonies, she also prepared a speech on coloured paper and binded it together (very official). That evening after dinner, she led us outside and asked us to sit next to our assigned candle. She delivered her speech thanking Mother Nature and then asked us to “go out in nature and collect something we are thankful for.” When we had returned with our piece of nature, we all went around the circle and thanked Mother Nature for each item (a leaf for being so colourful, a piece of wood for building the house we live in, flowers for decorating the gardens and making us happy, etc). We placed each item in the basket and our candle was lit. Kylie then led us in two songs to commemorate the occasion (we looked these up on the Internet, and I’ve included them below because they were a hit and a hoot).

I’m not sure if this will become our new tradition, but it was very special and as unique as Kylie. Sitting together in a circle, under the stars and by candlelight, singing songs and being thankful was not only fun and a family bonding experience, but we also felt closer to nature. The ritual was also a great learning experience for the little kids. Kylie taught them so simply and authentically about nature and gratitude in a way that no adult could. For me, the gesture reminded me that our bond to our family is like our bond nature, we are all connected for better or for worse. This bond is sometimes fragile, and for that reason, we all need to take time to care for and be grateful for each other.  

For such a great experience, I am grateful and thankful for you, Kylie!

The First Thanksgiving
(Sung to: "Twinkle, Twinkle")

Pick the corn and pick the beans,
Pick the squash and other greens
It is harvest time you see
Come and share a feast with me.
Bring your family out to play,
We'll call this Thanksgiving Day

I Eat Turkey
Sung to: "Frere Jacques"

I eat Turkey,
I eat Turkey.
Yes, I do
Yes, I do
Turkey in my tummy,
Yummy, yummy, yummy.
Good for me
Good for you.

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