By Lorie Ham
It is that time of year again when people here in the United States start thinking more about being thankful. Thanksgiving is not only a time for great food and being with family, but also a time to think back on what we are thankful for this year. Thanks to the Covid vaccine, many of us will finally be able to celebrate with our families in person again.
But what does it mean to be thankful? According to Webster’s Dictionary, thankful is:
- conscious of benefit received;
- expressive of thanks;
- well pleased.
Expressive of thanks—how do we express that we are thankful? When we are thankful for something done for us, we often tell the person, or sometimes give them a gift to express our thankfulness.
Many people also keep thankful, or gratitude, journals to help them remember on a daily basis to be thankful. Doing this can help you have a more positive attitude about life. According to an article on CNN, research shows that grateful people tend to be healthy and happy. They exhibit lower levels of stress and depression, cope better with adversity, and sleep better.
Ever wonder how other countries express their thankfulness and gratitude? According to a 2019 article in the Star Tribune, many other cultures have festivals to give thanks for different blessings, usually involving food. Grecians, who depend on fish for protein, observe the Blessing of the Sea. In Argentina, the archbishop of Mendoza sprinkles the season’s first grapes with holy water and offers the vintage to God. The Mid-Autumn Festival is one of China’s most important traditions—ceremonies are held to give thanks for the harvest and encourage life-giving sunlight for the following year.
In Japan, people typically express gratitude by giving gifts on holidays or by bowing. The gift itself matters less than the ritual of bestowing it. In the Philippines, people value gift giving for gratitude more than saying a phrase.
The same article talks about some of the different words for thankfulness in other languages. In Japan, meals traditionally begin with a single word: itadakimasu. It can be translated to “I humbly receive this meal.” Its intention is to thank everyone who helped bring food to the table—from the hunters, farmers, and fishermen, to those who prepared it.
Saying “thank you” is a very common way of expressing thanks. On Handwritten.com, you can find many examples of how other cultures say thank you. Among those examples are takk in Iceland, danke in Germany, or obrigado in Brazil.
Being thankful and expressing thankfulness seems to be pretty much universal, even if there are many different ways to do it. Not only is it polite, but it can be as beneficial to the giver as to the receiver. Having a thankful heart all year long can be good for your health, so whatever you are thankful for this Thanksgiving and beyond, be sure not only to express it, but also to remind yourself of it every day.
What are you thankful for this year? We would love it if you would share it with us on our Facebook page.