The beginning of this celebration started way back. It gave recent immigrants the opportunity to sit down and share a meal together.
It was done when the harvest was complete and food was about to be stored away for a long winter ahead.
To those invited, the only requirement was to sit at the table and enjoy all those assembled .They brought their own religious views, their own cultural mores and dressed as each did in their own homes. At the table, there may have been passionate discussion about each side’s point of view, as is common at many Thanksgiving feasts throughout the land. In the end, everyone was able to be themselves and celebrate together.
That was hundreds of years ago. Look today at our 21 square kilometres called Emery Village, and the desire for commonality within our vast sea of ethnic diversity, is likely more relevant today then with that of our forefathers.
The symbolism that we see at Thanksgiving should not be overlooked. Kudos to Dollarama for allowing us all the opportunity to purchase a vast array of inexpensive seasonal/festive items for all to enjoy ( including dressing the family pets). By sharing a common human experience we can then begin to understand how many things that, beyond this dinner, we have in common.
In our communities we have competing forces that work against each other. This rivalry is not based on the things we have in common, but on our differences. It’s all too easy to fall into that trap. Thanksgiving suggests that we shouldn’t care about the religion, political beliefs, gender, race, marriage or any other differences of those that we are sitting at the table with. How can any of us go wrong following that noble pursuit?
Thanksgiving is a time when we should reflect on all of our achievements, even if they are only partially achieved. One of our greatest achievements might just be that all in the community can come together at the same table and share our common love for life. Many of us recently experienced a common gathering this past month with the Emery Village BIA Wine Fest. And a few “Movie in the Park” this past summer collected smiling faces in the community to enjoy the experience.
With more than 200 ethnic groups represented in Emery Village now, my hope is with more chances to congregate as a community, we will learn to love and embrace all of our differences.
There is much more ahead for everyone in Emery Village. Just stay tuned.
Sean R. Delaney,
The Emery?Village Voice