Paying it forward: ‘Happy Thanksgiving’

By Alex P. Vidal

“If you are really thankful, what do you do? You share.”—W. Clement Stone

“HAPPY Thanksgiving,” one of the two black men greeted me while I was standing on corner Whitney and Case Streets in Queens November 21 at around 11 o’clock in the morning.

“Thank you so much. Happy Thanksgiving,” I replied as they strutted toward Broadway Street while having a casual conversation.

At past 8 ‘o’clock in that evening, I passed the greeting forward to a Jewish man in Manhattan monitoring the negotiations for the release of several Jewish and Jewish-American hostages in Gaza by Hamas: “Happy Thanksgiving!” He answered me with a smile.

All over the United States, people and strangers who don’t know each other greet each other “Happy Thanksgiving” even before November 23.

Why is Thanksgiving so important for the Americans?

In the United States, it is a time to gather with family and friends, share a traditional meal and express gratitude for the good things in life.

It can also be a time of service to others in the community. Thanksgiving traces its origins to harvest festivals.

When is Thanksgiving 2023? The United States celebrates Thanksgiving as a national holiday on the fourth Thursday in November. In 2023, Thanksgiving will be observed on Thursday, November 23.


Thanksgiving has been held on the fourth Thursday in November since 1941, which means that the actual date of the holiday shifts each year. The earliest Thanksgiving can occur is November 22; the latest is November 28.

Writing for, Catherine Boeckmann said President Roosevelt changed Thanksgiving from the fourth Thursday to the third Thursday in November in 1938.

“However, this was not a very popular move,” she wrote.

In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October. In 2023, it was observed on Monday, October 9.

Why was Thanksgiving proclaimed a day of honor by both Washington and Lincoln?

“No, it’s not about a Pilgrim feast. (Speaking of Pilgrims, whatever happened to them?),” Boeckmann emphasized.

Native Americans in North America celebrated harvest festivals for centuries before Thanksgiving was formally established in the United States.

Colonial services for these festivals date back to the late 16th century. The autumnal feasts celebrated the harvest of crops after a season of bountiful growth.


In the 1600s, Boeckman continued, settlers in Massachusetts and Virginia had feasts to thank for surviving, fertile fields, and their faith. The Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts, had their infamous Thanksgiving feast in 1621 with the Wampanoag Native Americans.

This three-day feast, she wrote, is considered the ”first” Thanksgiving celebration in the colonies. However, there were other recorded ceremonies of thanks on these lands.

In 1565, Spanish explorers and the local Timucua people of St. Augustine, Florida, celebrated a mass of thanksgiving.

In 1619, British settlers proclaimed a day of thanksgiving when they reached a site known as Berkeley Hundred on the banks of Virginia’s James River.

“Of course, the idea of ‘thanksgiving’ for the harvest is as old as time, with records from the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans,” she explained. “Native American cultures, too, have a rich tradition of giving thanks at harvest time feasts, which began long before Europeans appeared on their soil.”

Boeckmann added: “And well after the Pilgrims, for more than two centuries, individual colonies and states celebrated days of thanksgiving.”


LESS SEXY. People who regularly watch pornos find their partners in real life increasingly less sexy, regardless of how attractive they are.

‘DON’T TOUCH MY JUNK’ is the most popular battlecry of airport passengers nowadays in protest against the TSA’s controversial pat down (whole body inspection using their two hands) inside the security entrance.

Daria Emmons posted this definition of love by Duncan MacKellar on my social media account on November 21, 2011:

A simple spark of deep desire,

The gentle gaze that sets the fire.

Often spoken, sometimes meant,

Heat of passion, sweetly spent.

Pleasure sought and object lured,

Emotions cherished and endured.

Forever, or a brief affair,

Not forgotten, always there.

Few resist and many fall,

Some are wary, not at all.

Found in tears, a smile, a sigh,

If unrequited, passes by.

Not for sale at any price,

Trust, compassion, sacrifice.

Common bonds of tempered past,

Kindred spirits, first and last.

Feelings ever changing flow,

Nurtured well, the best will grow.

Is it ever understood?

This much we know, love is good.

(The author, who is now based in New York City, used to be the editor of two daily newspapers in Iloilo.—Ed)