Today, Thursday, November 23, 2017 is the Thanksgiving Day in America and some people have been on holiday for three days prior to this Thursday. The roadways and airports across the United States are crowded during this period, a heavily traveled time. Thanksgiving appears to be the most celebrated holiday because of its historical intimacy, significance, and its current contextual relevance to everyone living in America.
So, as the Americans revel Thanksgiving, immigrants join in the celebration for variety of reasons. Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks and sharing. It is a period for families to sit, relax, and eat together reflecting on how far they have come in their journey to success in the United States. As a result, family members travel far and wide to congregate in one place to celebrate together as they give unadulterated thanks to God for everything they have achieved. The traditional meat for Thanksgiving dinner is turkey.
Thanksgiving was conceived when the Pilgrims and Puritans thought it necessary to give thanks for their political and religious freedom, including the progress they had made in the new-found land. Today, we commemorate Thanksgiving for various reasons.
Painstakingly, the Pilgrims, who left Plymouth, England for political freedom and self-government, braced the dangers of the waters and sailed on Mayflower on September 6, 1620 and arrived about two months later to establish their own colony in Plymouth in New England area. In autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims began a harvest festival—Thanksgiving that has now become a three-day feast in American culture. Many people in America relish Thanksgiving Holiday because it affords them the opportunity for a period of rest from their busy daily routine.
Though Plymouth was said to have been a place where the first Thanksgiving was held in America, yet there is a debate over where Thanksgiving first took place. Despite the stale debate, this is a period to be thankful for.
Nevertheless, Boston is historically, politically, and academically significant city. It is the home of the Freedom Trail and USS Constitution; home of the Kennedy’s and the Kerrys among other politicians; and a home of Harvard, MIT, and UMASS Boston Campus. It is said that Boston is the primary gateway to many other tourists’ attractions in and around the New England areas.
Well, this year’s Thanksgiving, however, reminds me of my trip to Boston over 10 years ago to witness the celebration of a special Thanksgiving commemorating Chief Ide Victor Okoye and Atty. Ogo Okoye’s young six-year marriage anniversary in the presence friends and well-wishers from various parts of the country. Though some people wondered why celebrating a six-year anniversary and not wait for 25 years of marriage commitment. But, the wave of marriage break-ups among Nigerians in the Diaspora demonstrated that the survival of six years of happy married life with the same spouse was not too common anymore among Nigerian community, particularly the Igbo community in the United States. Separations, divorces, and or tumultuous marriages among Nigerians in America have become all too common with no end in sight.
Yes, with the spate of marriage dissolutions in the Nigerian communities in America, some people are eternally thankful for their united families. High rate of divorce and domestic abuse are now common among our people here. So, celebrating unity among families is aptly worthy during this period.
In any case, today, many of us will celebrate Thanksgiving for various reasons. While the early settlers from Europe celebrated Thanksgiving for political and religious freedom, new immigrants will, in no doubt, commemorate Thanksgiving for economic freedom. Still, others will venerate the Thanksgiving Day for varied reasons.
It will not be uncommon for the Nwokocha family to celebrate today in style. On Saturday, November 18, 2017, Atty. Edwin Nwokocha won a clear, convincing, and overwhelming victory for the president of Igbo Community Association of Nigeria (ICAN-DFW) after a gruesome and long campaign. The wind of change finally swept him into office. Chief Nwokocha has already made a significant policy change even before assuming office. He has stopped any president of ICAN to answer “Eze Igbo,” the preferred name for these individuals who happened to find themselves as the president. I congratulate Chief Edwin Nwokocha and members of his new executive. The expectations of the Igbo community is very high!
Personally, this year’s Thanksgiving is special to me for obvious reasons. First of all, my birthday falls in the Thanksgiving week. I am healthy and hearty after going through my annual medical checkup on Monday. I’m mostly thankful to God for my family and our health. Checking my weight two days ago, I am thankful that I am still maintaining my weight after two years of weight loss.
I am thankful to God for making it possible for me to work for the same employer for over 28 years and still in excellent spirit and health. With humility and unimaginable sense of pride, I am thankful to God for making it possible for me to write my first book, “Views from America: A Sojourner’s Memoirs- A Repertoire of Action for Nigeria’s Development,” which will be launched on December 28, 2017.
As I observe the Thanksgiving Holiday, I reflect on God’s blessings and His kindness to humanity.
Truly, Thanksgiving in America is laced with varied reasons. However, it is my humble opinion that we should be thankful to God every day for his blessings and love. It is not enough to remember God’s blessings periodically; we should give thanks to the Almighty every moment of our live for His goodness and grace.