Believe it or not, a number of Americans have asked me how we celebrate Thanksgiving in Australia...before I remind them (with a cough) that Australian don't celebrate Thanksgiving - it's (another cough) an American ritual...and believe it or not they often seem genuinely shocked.
I am an unapologetic adopter of celebrations - I figure when in Rome...So my family are the ones cheerfully flying the American flag and organizing the Fourth of July street party. We take our boys trick or treating (something that growing up in Australia we never did) and at Thanksgiving we oblige by going through the whole nightmare of traveling, visiting and cooking - all in honor of our adopted home. I like celebrating. I like eating and drinking (I am, after all, an Australian!) and we get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Nothing in my research however is as funny as seeing American reactions to one very famous public holiday in Melbourne - one celebration that reveals the quirks of Australia that Americans would probably find hard to believe. That day is Melbourne Cup Day - the first Tuesday in November. It's my all time favorite holiday mainly because my birthday quite often coincides (as it did this year) and who would ever complain about having a public holiday on their birthday?! So there you have it - in Australia we give everyone the day off in celebration of a horse race.
As immigrants we get to enjoy bringing the rituals from our home and taking on the rituals and celebrations of our adopted home, America. This Thanksgiving week I like to think it gives me the opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to be able to do this - to freely celebrate or not as we wish and to enjoy the welcome we have received here. America has been very good to me - it gave me the opportunity to fulfil my dream of being a published writer. I have been able to achieve things here that frankly I doubt I could have achieved in Australia. For that I am extremely thankful - but believe me when I say, I will never, ever be able to stomach pumpkin pie, no matter how many Thanksgivings I attend...
Some food for thought...what rituals and celebrations have you adopted and what have you brought with you from your other home (if you have one)? And in the spirit of Thanksgiving what are you thankful for?