Thanksgiving is an American secular (semi-Christian) holiday that celebrates the first harvest of some of the earliest settlers in North America which was shared by the indigenous people of the immediate area. Thanksgiving is not a Pagan holiday, and it is a contentious holiday for those who support indigenous rights, but it's also an American institution that is not easily escaped. And there's food. Lots of food. And so I present to you this collection of Thanksgiving traditions to incorporate into your celebration.

Any of these can also be incorporated into any other Harvest celebration.

Giving Thanks

Gratitude should be practiced in the household of every Kitchen Witch as it fills the home with energy that draws many blessings. This Thanksgiving, take a moment to have your guests speak the gratitude in their hearts for the blessings they've received this year. If you aren't all comfortable speaking out loud, perhaps you could write them on slips of paper anonymously and have someone read them all out loud. Or if you just want to share it with the Gods, toss them in the fire when you pour your libations.

If you don't say "grace" at every meal, consider doing so today as well. You can find a list of Pagan meal blessings at http://paganwiccan.about.com/od/mealtimeprayers/ss/Pagan-Meal-Blessings.htm Meal Blessings for the Magical Home

Honoring Indigenous People

It is clear that the Pilgrims probably wouldn't have survived without the help of their indigenous neighbors and the culture they brought into this land is guilty of a terrible genocide against those where were here before. This Thanksgiving, think of ways to honor the indigenous people of America and other places in the world.

Consider a donation to Native Planet or Amnesty International

This year, let us also keep in our thoughts and prayers the Native Peoples who are standing in the way of the Dakota Access Pipeline. This protest began with just the Standing Rock Sioux, but representatives from many tribes are there now standing together for all of our rights for clean water and a clean future, as well as the rights of Native Peoples to have their treaties honored. Consider sending them a donation, or calling or writing to your representatives in Congress letting them know how you feel about the situation. You can find the right people to complain to at http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Recognizing Native Foods

Many of the traditional foods served at Thanksgiving were unheard of in Europe before they landed on the American continent. If you don't make it a regular practice to eat local foods, think about making it part of your Thanksgiving celebration and honor the spirits of the Land as you do so.

Native American foods include turkey, pumpkin and many other types of squash, corn, wild rice, potatoes, cranberries, cocoa(well, South American), beans, black walnuts, sunflower seeds, tomatoes, peppers as well as any local game or fish, of course and many more. Most traditional Thanksgiving foods are native to the Americas.

Sports and Games

Watching sports while lounging on the couch seems to be a traditional Thanksgiving, though it doesn't appeal to me. But a nice inter-generational board game or card game builds family togetherness. If you all love football, then that can too.

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