Skip to main content

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last week a friend here in L.A. asked me whether Austrians celebrate Thanksgiving too. At first I was stunned because I thought of the origins of this day and the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. But then I reconsidered. Doesn't everyone have something to be grateful for? Why shouldn't all countries recognize a  national day of giving thanks?

I celebrated my first Thanksgiving in a small café in Prague, Czech republic, which was called Red Hot & Blues. The place unfortunately closed very recently but it used to be a  favorite hangout for American expats. It was there, in 1996, that I ate my first sweet potatoes, my first pumpkin pie, and my first pecan pie. I remember the food as good but most of all I recall engaging in lively conversation with the two strangers at our table and that the café was filled with laughter and happiness. It was like a giant family party. Thanksgivings since then - one at the home of friends in Prague, another in a cabin in snowy Big Bear (a two hours drive from our home in L.A.), others with relatives in the area and with best friends in San Diego - have always brought up that same feeling.

Together with Easter Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. There are no decorating orgies and no gifts which eliminates the stress of shopping for them. For one day consumerism takes a break. The focus on gratitude makes people feel blessed, and different from religious holidays the idea behind Thanksgiving unifies people. Everyone can identify on some level.

With that let me say thank you to you, my readers, for staying with Across the Pond, for commenting on my posts and for inspiring me with your own blogs.

Happy Thanksgiving!


Lorraine Seal said…
A belated Thanksgiving to you, too, Christina. I had lunch with a group of other expat American women yesterday at K&K in Salzburg. When the waiter brought in the roast turkey, all golden brown on its platter, it was adorned with two Roman candles spewing sparks nearly as high as the waiter's head. The women, some of whom have lived here 30, 40, even 50 years, remarked that the display was very Austrian.

Tomorrow we'll have turkey dinner here at the flat with friends, a couple now living in Ireland. Like me and my husband, she's American, he's Irish.

But with the Advent markets now open and red and green sprouting everywhere, I'm ready to turn my sights on Weihnacht.

Best wishes,
Thanks, Lorraine. It is good to hear that you found a way to celebrate Thanksgiving in Austria.

My husband, M., pointed out to me yesterday that other countries do have days of thanksgiving. He mentioned Erntedankfest in Austria (the harvest festival) which is celebrated on a Sunday in October, usually in a church. He is right and yet Erntedankfest, a Christian tradition observed by Christians, is not nearly as inclusive as the American Thanksgiving. It also lacks the broad scope of the American Thanksgiving. While the U.S. says thank you for everything good Erntedankfest focusses on the fruits of the current year's harvest.

I seem to remember that there is a post with impressions from an Erntedankfest on your blog but can't find it. Am I mistaken or can point me to the link?
Reese said…
Happy Thanksgiving Christina! I like the idea of Thanksgiving too, spending quality time with family and friends and being grateful for what we have. Living in Asia we haven't had any decent roast turkey and apple pie, like I've tried in Minnesota. Can't wait for the next time!

Your comment makes me curious: are there no turkeys in Asia? Or do people just not use them for cooking/roasting?
Reese said…
Hi Christina,

Good question - I don't think I've seen any wild turkey in Asia, but there should be some specialty farms that rear them. We know of someone who keeps a turkey as a pet in a beautiful old mansion in Penang.

Turkey is definitely not part of our cuisine though. Due to the growing European community in Asia, you can find them at the grocery store during holiday season but they are very expensive.

Popular posts from this blog

Visions of Editors: How Good Stories Go to Waste

Recently I stumbled upon Visions of Mary, a war story by Joseph Richardson. The book begins in a present day emergency room in Tennessee: A physician, a good guy who takes his work seriously, fights to establish the identity of a man who was found wandering about in a snow storm. The M.D.'s questions bring up memories of World War II in the disoriented patient. Thanks to the lost man's recollections we eventually learn that he is Colonel John Stone, an American war hero. The colonel tells the physician how he enlisted and became a pilot, how he married his sweetheart, Mary, and how he almost died when the Japanese shot down his plane, the "China Doll," in the last months of the war. After the attack, Stone and his men found themselves on a raft in the middle of a shark infested nowhere called the Pacific. Without food, water and radio connection their death seemed imminent. The men's fight for survival is where the book turns exciting: plunged into this crisis,

Lyman, Whitford, Reality Check: A Career in the West Wing?

On a chilly Sunday night in February two young girls in jeans and light blouses were standing in front of the artists' entrance of one of two local art theaters in Pasadena, California. The pathway beyond the barrier, an iron gate, was barely lit. It stayed empty for a long time while the girls, shifting weight from one foot to the other, chatted and giggled. After a while a figure emerged from the shadows. The girls fell silent but it was the wrong actor. When the right man, Bradley Whitford, finally appeared he was wearing a bicycle helmet pushed way up on his forehead. Whitford is best known for playing Josh Lyman in the TV series  The West Wing   but on that night he had performed in the Pasadena Playhouse's production of Yasmina Reza’s   Art.  The girls stopped the actor, told him about their social studies class and how the teacher would have them watch The West Wing.  Whitford smiled, asked, "Which school is it?" and autographed the two print-outs the girls

Solid Rock, Human Transience (The Huntington 2)

Organic blend: Chinese garden at the Huntington The Chinese garden at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino (L.A. county) is a magical place. It blends the man-made and the natural, architecture with trees, straight lines and curves, all in an organic way. Last week, as I was wandering the cobbled paths of the garden I decided to take a closer look at some of the rocks. I got to my knees, admired the shades of white and grey, the undertones of purple, green, and red; I let my hand glide over the limestone's spurs, cracks, and sharp edges, felt the coolness of the rock against my skin, its enduring solidity against my human transience - and decided to look up some facts. Spurs and cracks: 50 Chinese stone workers flew in to carve the stone Transplants in L.A.: 850 tons of rock The limestone rocks in the Huntington's Chinese garden are transplants. They were imported from Lake Tai in the Yangtze Delta in China. Acc