The last two weeks of the year mean different things for different people. For most of us it is a time to plan for a party – to celebrate the year gone by and welcome the coming year in high spirits (literally). For some of us (including me) it is a time for introspection – hits, misses and the plan for the next year. But it is also a time of intrigue for me as most of the western world heads for almost a 2 week holiday. I wonder how can countries practically shut down for 2 whole weeks. Thanksgiving and Christmas are the festivals responsible for this annual shutdown. While Christmas (Santa Claus - a very good example of globalisation and a connected world – I am sure he can be recognised anywhere in the world) is widely celebrated across the world, I think Thanksgiving is equally important.
Thanksgiving was originally the harvest festival of the west – people celebrated a good agricultural season and thanked Gods for the same. As a festival it is celebrated across the western world, although on different dates. I find the idea behind the festival very compelling – thanking the almighty and all others who have made a difference in our lives and is one of the things that I should have added to my previous blog – what we can learn from other religions (21 Sep). Even in India various states celebrate different harvest seasons but thanksgiving as a festival concept is still uniquely western in nature.
Come to think of it – there are multitude of people that make our lives better every day. While some of them can be thanked directly – our families, friends, colleagues, service providers and many others, most of them are working earnestly but are not in our line of sight. How about a special day for thanking them? A day spent thinking about the positives and to thank the almighty for making our lives beautiful. Although I know and fully understand that things are not perfect and lot of things could be a lot better, still there are a lot of things in our lives that we should be thankful for, as things could easily be a lot worse than they actually are. While we are formal in our approach and thank a lot of colleagues for helping us out (or not creating un necessary obstacles – as the case may be) we don’t thank our family enough (at least I don’t). Relatives are a different discussion altogether – although most of them can easily be classified as a pain in various body parts – some of them are blessings that we should be thankful for.
A day spent in counting our various blessings and thanking everyone for the same will indeed be a special day. For us as it would create a lot of positive energy. For the receiver of the thanks for it will make them feel special, valued and encourage them to keep doing the things that made them special in the first place. A show of sincere gratitude indeed goes a long way in keeping the “positive feedback” cycle going.
I think it is something that we all must do. It is definitely something I will start doing. This should be on the top of our list in the concepts and culture that we are in a hurry to copy from the west. Let us copy it and modify it for our society by adding humility to it.
As we head to the last week of the year I wish all readers an amazing festive season. Next week we will look at the year and 10 major events that will have a disproportionate impact in the times to come.