When Puritans from England aboard the ship Mayflower docked at Plymouth in Massachusetts, it was a very cold winter day. Yet, they overcame many hardships and cut trees; tilled the soil; sowed seeds of corn, beans and potato. That year, the weather was bad, with rainfall and snowstorms causing budding crops to wither away.

Besides not having a food supply, they endured freezing cold, and the frail became ill or died. As they endured these conditions, the Indians brought them fruits and fowl and were kind enough to teach them how to capture fish and wild animals.

Eventually, the warm spring season came and those that remained, displaying courage, tilled the soil again and planted grains. Fortunately, the weather was good that year and crops were abundant. By fall, the bounty of the harvest overflowed from their homes and the people rejoiced.

They made many dishes using turkey, corn, pumpkin, and invited Indians who had helped them. They enjoyed a festival of gratitude over two days, giving thanks to God and the Indians who saved them.

The Thanksgiving festival should not be just a day to enjoy good food and have a good time, but a time to reflect on why we are able to live a good life. Do not forget to be grateful to God, the Buddha, your parents and those who are there to lend you a helping hand. — Haru Tanaka (Translation by JN Productions, Inc., May 2016)


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