No, you didn’t read it wrongly. Our Thanksgiving is not celebrated on just one day. How is that? My hometown, Manado, is located inside one of the regencies in North Sulawesi province called Minahasa where people are mostly farmers. Rice farmers, to be precise.
That is why, the majority of people here are Minahasa people even though we have people from other parts of the province in town. As rice farmers, people wait for the rice harvest before celebrating Thanksgiving and it can happen more than one times in a year.
That is how we celebrate Thanksgiving more than once.
Yes, our Thanksgiving is different than the one in other countries. We not only have a different history but also a different way to do it. The reason for our Thanksgiving is to celebrate the rice harvest every year. Since the harvest times are not the same for all areas, we can have Thanksgiving celebrations almost all year long. Therefore, we don’t have Thanksgiving Day down here. What we have is a Thanksgiving Season. Usually it happens around June / July though some parts of the province may have it after the New Year.
To many people, it’s time to throw diet out of the window!
In each city and village where Thanksgiving is happening, we can find houses open their doors to families, friends and even strangers. Food and beverages are waiting to be enjoyed on the tables all day long. So if you have parents whose families are from different places around the regions? Yes, you can go to a lot of places all together as much as your tummy can handle. Even at places where there are no rice fields, like the cities, people are still celebrating Thanksgiving. Usually it is coordinated by the main church here.
This year, we are facing a different challenge for the season.
The challenge lies in how to make sure it goes beyond a yearly tradition. Instead, we are doing it because that’s what we believe. That we have to be grateful no matter what. Yes, two of the active volcanoes around the region have been erupting this month but that shouldn’t hinder us from celebrating life. As for my families, despite all the challenges we’re facing, we still have to be grateful. There are a lot of things life has to offer and to some of us, the journey hasn’t even started yet. So no need to live in fear and sorrow.
Let’s count our blessings instead!