Tomorrow (November 24) is the popular Thanksgiving Day in USA. Observed on the fourth Thursday of November, it is a much awaited holiday. It also kind of sets off the holiday season of the winters that ends with the celebrations of New year.
Thanksgiving Day has its roots in settlers (pilgrims) in Plymouth celebrating a feast after the successful harvest that season. That was in 1621. But the Thanksgiving has continued and today it is an occasion to express thanks and gratitude to one’s own blessings to life and opportunities and one’s beliefs in general. Thus, rightly so, Thanksgiving Day is the occasion to give alms and do charity. This is the day for people to come together as families and count the blessings and celebrate the life together. Thanksgiving Dinner thus is considered a very special feast.
Thanksgiving and food go together. After all, supper is an occasion to meet, share and celebrate. Amongst all the food and beverages, Turkey is the unifying theme. Turkey is served on this day as a mark of Thanksgiving. How so ever painful it may sound, the stark reality is that Thanksgiving comes at the altar of turkeys. They are sacrificed so that we can celebrate thanksgiving. I read somewhere that 88 % Americans eat turkey on this day, according to a survey conducted by American Turkey Association. Looking at sheer numbers, 44 Million turkeys are ‘enjoyed’ on Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day stands to symbolize a very beautiful human sentiment: Thankfulness in general and gratitude in particular. That is why it so bothers me to see how such a humane expression is oblivious to the cruelty that carries along with!
Will we ever observe a Turkey-less Thanksgiving Day? After all, when turkey can get a Presidential Pardon, why not a Public Pardon?
Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom. Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
America The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date. But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.
Canada Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.
But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
Liberia In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.
Netherlands Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.
But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.
Food: The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.
Black Friday: Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.
Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.
Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.
August 5, 2017: Not every museum is about art, science, culture, and history, some of them show different sides of the world. A side which has a niche audience as not everyone will be interested to see them. We are talking about the weird museums around the world, which have its own peculiarity, oddities and sometimes downright weird. Some of these can even leave you confused, who would think of creating a museum on this idea or notion? But it can also drive you to dig deeper, to gain more knowledge. As these are not the mundane artifacts.
It’s a home of the morbid art of corpse plastination, a technique by which human or animal bodies are preserved. They use this scientific technique and present them in creative positions like an archer. It makes one wonder how intricate the human form is. Gunther Von Hagens perfected plastination (using polymers to preserve human tissue) after many years of studying medicine, dissection, and chemistry. Visitors of this museum not only learn about the history of anatomy but also witness’s the graphic process of it. The center also supplies traveling Body Worlds, which they call an original exhibition of real human bodies.
The Mummy Museum, Guanajuato, Mexico
A popular tourist attraction, this museum has a mystical aura to it and has mummified bodies. The mummies have generated a lot of interest since the time this museum opened as people were already inquisitive about mummies and visiting it will give them a chance to see the mystery unfold in front of their eyes.
Hundreds of bodies were once buried in the Santa Paula Pantheon’s crypts around the mid-19th century. If families were unable to pay a burial tax imposed by the town, the bodies were exhumed. Later they discovered the bodies had been mummified through a natural process, likely due to the region’s unique climatic factors. The museum houses more than hundred mummies and a mummy of an infant as well. On June 9, 1865, the mummified body of a French doctor, Remigio Leroy, was exhumed from Niche 214 of the Pantheon’s first series. This is the first and therefore the most ancient of the Guanajuato Mummy Museum’s collection. Going to this museum will calm your curious soul. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, The exhibition has an introductory video about the meaning of death for Mexicans and their way of accepting it.
The sinister museum has over 70 historical instruments of torture. Visitors can see, touch and even try out the 1792 guillotine replica, pendulum- a swinging blade that descends lower and lower with each sweep, rack- one of the oldest instruments of torture or iron maiden- the most brutal medieval instrument of torture, scold’s bridle, an instrument used to punish women accused of scolding and gossiping, as well as many other instruments that were used to humiliate, torture, cause injury or execute the victim. This weird museum gives a take on historical means and ways of violence.
It’s a one of its kind experience; there are multi sensory rooms, such as the semi-dark Cabinet of Wonders or the Dungeon. In the Cabinet of Wonders, there is semi-darkness in which the exhibits are bathing in a discomforting sound environment. It will prompt questions about sick human minds, which would let humans suffer such torture. It can make you vulnerable and can also bring back to mind issues of today’s hidden forms of torture, such as bullying or domestic violence. The Dungeon is a miniature cool room in which the visitor can spend a minute of his life in pitch blackness, anticipating the uncertain future…
Vent Haven Ventriloquist Museum, Kentucky, USA
The Museum houses smiling ventriloquist dolls. William Shakespeare Berger bought his first dummy in 1910- Tommy Baloney. By 1947, his collection had grown so large he renovated his garage to house the figures, and in 1962, he had to construct a second building. Vent Haven Museum was officially opened to the public on June 30, 1973, , with the dedication of the W.S. Berger Memorial Building. Ventriloquist legends Edgar Bergen and Jimmy Nelson performed for all who attended the ceremony.
Vent Haven Museum houses more than 800 dummies, playbills, photos and historical books from Berger’s personal collection. In addition to this, the museum also hosts the annual convention- a ventriloquist meeting attracting many professionals and enthusiasts from all over the world.
Avanos Hair Museum, Avanos, Turkey
The museum was created by a potter by profession, Chez Galip and is located in the rural Turkish town of Avanos. The story behind the origin of it is that the local potter Chez Galip was bidding farewell to a dear friend of his when he asked for something to remember her by. She cut off a piece of her hair to leave as a reminder. He put it up in his shop and told the story to the visitors and tourists who passed through. Other women who enjoyed the story left a piece of their hair as well and from there started the collection of hair. The museum started in 1979 when a selection was put up for display.
It now features a gigantic collection of hair gathered from more than 16,000 women, and if that isn’t creepy enough. It lies in a small, dark cave. Locks of women’s hair adorn the walls of this weird museum. The museum fills up a section of the shop where the earthen wares are stored. Visitors roam in the cave-like room with hair attached to every available surface. Pencils, paper, pins, and scissors are offered to those wanting to add their own piece to the collection.
International Cryptozoology Museum, Maine, USA
Cryptozoology means- the study of hidden animals and involves the search for animals whose existence has not been verified, like the Yeti or Bigfoot (skunk ape). This museum’s collection has specimens and artifacts allegedly related to these kinds of mythical, unverified creatures. It includes everything from the hair samples, fecal matter, and native art. A rather odd collection to be incorporated and maybe it just might turn you into a Bigfoot believer.
The museum was started in 2003. Loren Coleman who wanted to share the items he collected with researchers, scholars, colleagues, and the general public. He went on to interview eyewitnesses, chronicle the reports, and gather material evidence and cultural artifacts related to cryptozoology. It modestly began with sculptures and paintings created just for it, hundreds of cryptozoology toys and souvenirs from around the world, and one of a kind artifacts. The museum has a life-size, 8 feet tall Bigfoot representation, a full-scale, six-foot-long thousand dollar coelacanth model, 100 Bigfoot, Yeti, Yowie, and other foot casts, fakes like jackalopes, Fiji Mermaid & furred trout.
Do you know everything about the parasite world? If you’ve ever wanted to know about tapeworms, head lice and plenty of other parasites you’ve probably never heard of. You can see it all at this museum. The collection boasts of around 300 specimens, including a 29-foot tapeworm. Not recommended for anyone with a weak stomach.
On the first floor of the museum, the ‘Diversity of Parasites’ displaying various types of parasitic specimens and accompanying it is educational movies, if you are interested to know more. The second-floor exhibits are ‘Human and Zoonotic Parasites’ showcasing parasite life cycles and the symptoms they cause during human infection. In addition to research, the museum also performs other activities such as education and provides special publications as well. The man behind the museum is Satoru Kamegai.
The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum, Kansas, USA
Yes, it’s true. There is a museum dedicated to barbed wires out there in the world. It features more than 2,400 varieties and explores the role barbed wire played in the settlement of the United States. Well, don’t touch any of the displays. The museum was established in 1970. There is an international organization, Antique Barbed Wire Society, committed to collecting, preserving, exhibiting, and interpreting the historical heritage of barb wire and barbed wire related item. There is Dioramas of early barbed wire use, a theatre featuring educational films, the Barbed Wire Hall of Fame, the museum archives room, and a research library for visitors.
The Dog Collar Museum, England
Dog collars are the little piece of accessory that transforms dogs from wild animals to man’s best friend. There is dog paraphernalia that dates back more than 100 years in this museum and inside you can see the history of canine accessories. This place is perfect for people who always wondered what a medieval dog collar may have looked like. In today’s time, dog collars are simple pieces of sturdy, flexible nylon in assorted colors and designs. However, in this Museum, you are treated to some of the fanciest dog collars there are.
This unique collection consists of nearly 100 collars that were collected by Irish medieval scholar John Hunt and his wife, Gertrude. Extended by the Leeds Castle Foundation, the collection has pieces that span history that is from medieval to Victorian times. The royal pet’s had baroque leather embellished dog collars with metalwork and velvet. This unusual place is visited by more than 500,000 dog lovers a year, both local and from overseas.
Le Musée des Vampires, France
The Le Musée des Vampires is a study of vampires’ place in France’s culture throughout history and today, a small private museum dedicated to vampires and the study of their place in folklore and modern culture. This weird museum has autographs of every actor who’s ever starred as Dracula, a mummified cat from Paris’ famous Père Lachaise Cemetery, and a vampire painting by famous French murderer Nicolas Claux. This is a cool place to be at if vampires fascinate you.
– by Kritika Dua of NewsGram. Twitter @DKritika08
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