Thanksgiving is an AUR season fixed to Harvest Thursday. (In the catholic calendar there is a two week gap between the All Hallows and Christmas seasons, which may be left an interval or filled with regional celebrations.)
12 Days of THANKSGIVING – (FIXED to Harvest Thursday, can overlap with All Hallows Season)
1st Day / Diversity Sunday – (2nd Sunday before Thanksgiving) Celebration of the meeting of different cultures.
5th Day / Remembrance Thursday – (1st Thursday of Thanksgiving) Commemoration of the misfortune of peace and cooperation broken by conflict.
12th Day / Harvest Thursday (Thanksgiving) – (4th Thursday in Nov) Commemoration of the meeting of worlds in America. One of the Four Great Thursdays of Reform Unitarianism.
Many readers may recall the line “over the river and through the wood” as part of a song called A Merry Christmas at Grandmother’s, but the song was originally a Thanksgiving tune, with the ultimate destination Grandfather’s house.
And, the song was originally a poem called “A Boy’s Thanksgiving Day” written in the 1840s by Lydia Maria Child, a remarkable Unitarian who advocated for women’s rights and the rights of Native Americans. A novelist ahead of her time, she also followed the track of abolitionism in the 19th Century, first advocating a pacifist approach yet later accepting the unfortunate need for violence to effect the liberation of African-American slaves.
As we celebrate the 12 Days of Thanksgiving, it is important to honor the author who wrote the most well-known Thanksgiving lyrics, and who exemplified the Reform Unitarian approach to this season, open to the joy and practical virtue of meetings between cultures, while still keeping eyes open to the tragic consequences that often attend to those meetings.
May God bless the memory of Lydia Maria Child.