Thanksgiving

thanksgiving-card-2009
Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Several other places around the world observe similar celebrations. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated in a secular manner as well.

This is the perfect time of year for everyone around the world to be thankful for what they’ve been given.

  • Sit quietly for a few minutes in complete silence. It’s best if you’re alone, and you close your eyes. Remove all problems from your thoughts for a moment. Push everything aside.

Then… think about what you DO have:

  • Are you breathing? Yes, you are. Be thankful that you’ve been given LIFE…the biggest miracle of all.
  • Do you have loved ones? Be thankful that they are in your life.
  • Do you have a roof over your head – even if it’s hard to pay for? Be thankful for that… many people don’t.
  • Are you starving? No? Be thankful that you have food to eat. There are millions starving around the world that would love to have some food from your cupboard.

Think for a moment how lucky you are to be alive… even if it’s not always easy.

Feronia is a Latin goddess who was honored with the first fruits of the harvest in a Thanksgiving type of ritual thought to ensure a bountiful harvest for the following year. In ancient Roman religion, Feronia was a goddess associated with wildlife, fertility, health and abundance. She was worshipped in Capena, at the base of Mount Soracte, a mountain ridge in a province of ancient Rome.

As the goddess who granted freedom to slaves or civil rights to the most humble part of society, she was especially honored among plebeians and freedmen. In ancient Rome Feronia’s festival was celebrated on the Ides of November, which in all likelihood was originally the day of the full moon, but eventually was settled on November 13th, or to be slightly more accurate in the Roman versions of November 13th.

Feronia’s festival, which was like a lively fair or market, was celebrated in a sacred grove where first-harvested fruits were offered to her near the foot of Mt. Soracte. Although woods and springs were especially sacred to her, and she preferred the peace of the country to the hustle of the city, Feronia also had a temple in Rome.

Feronia’s followers were thought to perform magickal acts such as fire walking. Slaves thought of her as a goddess of freedom, and they believed that, if they sat on a particular holy stone in her sacred sanctuary, they could attain freedom. One tradition says that newly freed slaves would go to her temple to receive the pileus, the special cap that signified their status as free people.

From Goddesses For Every Day and Patheos

In ancient Roman religion, the Epulum Jovis (also Epulum Iovis) was a sumptuous ritual feast offered to Jupiter on the Ides of September (September 13) and a smaller feast on the Ides of November (November 13). It was celebrated during the Ludi Romani (“Roman Games”) and the Ludi Plebeii (“Plebeian Games”).

It’s described as a kind of thanksgiving feast. People dined in honor of Minerva, Juno, and Jupiter and decorated with statues of these deities, as though the gods were among them.

The gods were formally invited, and attended in the form of statues.  These were arranged on luxurious couches (pulvinaria) placed at the most honorable part of the table. Fine food was served, as if they were able to eat. The priests designated as epulones, or masters of the feast, organized and carried out the ritual, and acted as “gastronomic proxies” in eating the food.

Celebrating The Epulum Jovis:

To curry the favor and receive the considerable blessings of these gods, place statues or pictures of them on the dinner table, set places for them, and cook a simple yet delicious dinner. The layout need not be extravagant, but it should be as luxurious as possible.

Remember, these are The Gods, and they are your guests. Serve the deities food, and in all other ways treat them as honored guests. If you have any special requests, perhaps save them for tomorrow. For now, just dine and align your life with the goodwill of these powerful gods.

Be sure to have statues or other representations of the honored guests on the table. Thank them for their gifts. Here’s a toast you can use:

“For all the gifts you’ve given me,
I offer something back to thee.
A symbol of my gratitude,
A gift of drink, a gift of food.”

The ancient Romans has designated persons who acted as proxies for the Gods and ate their food for them, alternatively, their full plates could be taken outside as an offering. Wine can also be poured as a libation.

Collected from various sources

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