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Thanksgiving - Gratitude is my attitude

We are almost towards the end of the year. It already feels like Christmas is here. When the TV, billboards, and magazines all start focusing on Christmas themed food, clothes and decorations, you know Christmas is here. While flicking through the channels, you come across a Christmas movies channel telecasting only Christmas movies, and you know Christmas is here. The weather has turned, and it has become very cold. All the winter jackets, boots, gloves and scarves are out. Last weekend I was planning for this year's Christmas party and suddenly realised that it is almost the end of the year.

How has my year been so far? Many great things happened this year, as well as some not so great things. Overall, my year has been great. All is well. There are many people, many things, some day to day things and technology that has contributed to create memories. Like the unsung heroes, many people and things went unnoticed, but, when you reflect, you see that there were many such factors that help make your day great. Such as the bus driver who opened the doors for you, which helped to reach your destination on time or the app on your phone that helps you plan your journey. And the list goes on.

Thanksgiving is one such festival which gives you the opportunity to express your gratitude towards your near and dear ones. I think this is a great opportunity for us to ask for forgiveness and forgive. Be thankful for our family and friends for being there for you and with you. Thanking them for sharing your sorrows and multiplying your happiness.

Does the concept of expressing gratitude through festival exist only in western culture? Certainly not. Not only Indian culture but I know other cultures also have similar Thanksgiving rituals and festivals.

Indian culture has many festivals marked to express gratitude, not only for family, friends, colleagues etc but also to express gratitude towards animals and various things that help make our day to day operations easy.

One such festival is ‘Deep Pujan’, which is celebrated on new moon night of the Ashaadh Month. Deep means ‘Lamp’ and ‘Pujan’ means worshiping. This falls sometime in July-August. On this day, all the lights in the house are cleaned including the traditional diyas. They are worshipped expressing our gratitude towards them as they help us by showing the light in the darkness.

DeepPujan.jpg
Deep Pujan

On the main day of Diwali, we worship Goddess Lakshmi. She is the Goddess of wealth. But we also worship the humble broom. Yes, you heard it right. We worship the broom. It is believed that Lakshmi comes to your house only if she feels that she is welcome. Hence, all Indians go the extra mile to clean their homes before Diwali. We make sure the home is neat and tidy. Diwali is the time to get new paint for the houses, change curtains and decorate the home with Rangoli, lights, flowers etc. It is also expected that you clean your mind. Who else helps you to do all this is but the broom? Hence, the hero is worshipped on Diwali day.

Bail Pola (p.c. hindu-blog.com)

Another festival is 'Bail Pola'. Bail means bullock in Marathi. This is the day the bulls are given rest as they work hard the rest of year in the farm. They are washed and decorated, and special food is prepared for them. Some communities give them massages with special oil and herbal powders. It's a big celebration among farmers. After cleaning, their horns are painted. Bulls are adorned with new decorative ornaments such as bells and garlands. Then the farmer’s whole family worships them and prayers are said for their well-being. In India, farmers are still largely dependent on these animals for farming. Hence, this festival is a humble way to express gratitude towards this special family member. 

Lakshmi Pujan
Ayudha Puja

The day before Dasara is celebrated as ‘Ayudha Puja’ day. ‘Ayudhaa’ means weapons, instruments, tools, machinery etc. On this day all the tools and machines are worshipped. As these tools and machinery play an important role in our lives, we express our gratitude towards them. 

 

Be grateful for the small things, big things and everything in between. For the past few years, I have been practicing a gratitude ritual. My day starts and ends with gratitude, by giving thanks to the divine supremacy for giving the privilege of experiencing yet another wonderful day. 

 

Thanksgiving should not be celebrated just for one day of the year. It should be expressed every day towards those who help us throughout the day. Expressing gratitude makes you feel good. Hence, I am strong believer and follower of 'Gratitude is my attitude'. Over the years, I have realised it’s the best attitude one can ever have.

 

These days, there is a lot of awareness about being grateful. Neuroscience research is supporting benefits of being grateful for not only for individuals, but even for corporate environment. But, 19th century poet Henry David Thoreau had already realised this long time ago. I am finishing this article with his famous quote.

 

'My thanksgiving is perpetual. It is surprising how contented one can be with nothing definite - only a sense of existence.' Henry David Thoreau

 

Happy Thanksgiving!

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