International Day of Thanksgiving, Tuesday, Nov 25, 1975Filed under 2 or more | Special programmes | Thanksgiving - Gratitude
In a special lunch-hour programme, Thanksgiving was celebrated with prayers, music and poetry from around the world, on Tuesday, November 25, in the Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium. Sri Chinmoy opened the programme with a silent payer of gratitude and thanksgiving. This was followed by musical offerings and poetry readings, a selection of which is printed below:
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING
Tuesday, November 25, 1975
- Opening : Silent Prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving lead by Sri Chinmoy .
- Poem of Rabindranath Tagore, India
- Flute Improvisation
- SWEDISH HYMN – -Olaus Petri (translated from the original Swedish by Johan Olaf Wallin)
- CANTICLE DELLE CREATURE –-Saint Francis of Assisi (translation from the original Italian)
- Canon perpetus from “Musical Offering” by J.S. Bach – Violin, Flute, Cello
- HARVEST THANKS – Erntedank – German Folk Poem
- AUTUMN (Excerpts)– Y. Yevtushenko translated from the original Russian by J. R. Rowland)
- DAMOS GRACIAS A NUESTRA MADRE TIERRA – -Edgar Gonzales (translation from the original Spanish by the author)
- Mr. Peter Stewart} President of the Thanks-Giving Square Foundation * of Dallas} Texas, paid homage to the tradition and spirit of thanksgiving:
- Yueh Lung Ying Hsi Dramatic Group presented a traditional Chinese shadow theater, depicting one of their classical legends.
- WE GATHER TOGETHER, traditional American thanksgiving hymn, from a-Netherlands Folk Song, Arr. by Edward Kremser, 1838-1914
- Closing re-dedication – silent offering of prayerful gratitude .
Thanksgiving around the World . .p..40
- Harvest Festival or Thanksgiving is celebrated in many ways around the world and the excerpts from the printed programme of the International Day of Thanksgiving function illustrate some of these practices in various countries :
- JAPAN –November 23} LABOR-THANKSGIVING DAY
- INDONESIA –HARVEST FEAST (Pelabuhan Ratu, West Java)
- SWITZERLAND –JEUNE FEDERAL
- AFRICA –December 26-January 1 KWANZA
OPENING : Silent Prayer of gratitude and thanksgiving
Let the earth and the water, the air and the fruits of my country be sweet, my God.
Let the homes and marts, the forests and fields of my country be full, my God.
Let the promises and hopes, the deeds the words of my country be true, my God.
Let the lives and hearts of the sons and daughters of my country be one, my God.
– Rabindranath Tagore, India
- God is merciful to us.
- He lets His clear Face shine So lovingly and graciously on His children,
- That we may know His ways, Learn His holy Will,
- That we on earth may understand His Bliss and Glory And give praise to Him.
- May all tongues thank And praise You, 0 Lord God,
- And may the whole world rejoice, Sing with gaiety and joy
- Lord, You are the hope of all For, who humbly worship You
- You comfort, calm, protect, maintain, You hear all who invoke You with faith.
- May all peoples thank You, God, And praise You with good works and with peace.
- See, the earth now richly bears Her flowers, fruit and grain.
- In all lands Be Your name extolled, Near and far:
- May all the world praise the Lord! May all the world love the Lord!
(translated from the original Swedish by Johan Olaf Wallin)
CANTICLE DELLE CREATURE
All-highest, omnipotent, good Lord, to You be praise, glory and honour and every blessing. To You alone they are due, and no man is worthy to speak Your name.
Be praised, my Lord, in all Your creatures, especially Brother Sun who makes daytime, and through him You give us light. And he is beautiful, radiant with great splendour, and he is a sign that tells, All-Highest, of You.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Moon and the stars: You formed them in the sky, bright and precious and beautiful.
Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Wind, and for the air and the clouds, and for fair, and every kind of weather, by which You give Your creatures food.
Be praised, my Lord, for Sister Water, who is most useful and humble and lovely and chaste.
Be praised, my Lord, for Brother Fire, Through whom You light up the night for us: and he is beautiful and jolly and lusty and strong.
Be praised, my Lord, for our sister Mother Earth, who keeps us, feeds us, and brings forth fruits of many kinds, with coloured flowers and plants as well ….
-Saint Francis of Assisi
(translation from the original Italian)
Canon perpetus from “Musical Offering” by J.S. Bach – Violin, Flute, Cello
HARVEST THANKS – Erntedank
All people, let it be told to you: You have brought home the last cart, Carried home the last sheaves of wheat. Now none shall starve throughout the land.
O harvest time, O holy time, O limitless blessings. So lift up your arms in great joy to heaven. And let all thank the Lord.
– German Folk Poem
Within me is an autumn season. There is transparency and coolness, Sadness, but not desolation, And I am humble, full of goodness.
And if sometimes I storm aloud Then I storm to shed my leaves : And the thought comes, simply, sadly, That to storm is not what’s needed …
Insight is the child of silence. No matter if we make no tumult: We must calmly shed all noise In the name of the new leaves …
– Y. Yevtushenko
( translated from the original Russian by J. R. Rowland)
DAMOS GRACIAS A NUESTRA MADRE TIERRA
- We give thanks for the yield of the land.
- We give thanks to our fertile Mother,
- Who from her bounty feeds all her children.
- We give thanks to our Mother Earth.
(translation from the original Spanish by the author)
Mr. Peter Stewart} President of the Thanks-Giving Square Foundation * of Dallas} Texas, paid homage to the tradition and spirit of thanksgiving:
Some years ago, one community, just like many others around the world became drawn by a word and started a search for its meaning-the word was:
They searched ancient wisdom and found Thanksgiving at the core- at the heart of what it means to be alive.
From ancient days-
- Earth be not afraid.
- Rejoice and be glad.
From modern days-
- Thanksgiving is the fabric that unites [us] with [our] past, with each other and with all mankind.
Then this community looked in their own hearts and daily lives- and after hundreds of hours of discussion came up with thoughts like these:
- The greatest common spirit that we have is that of thanksgiving.
- Gratitude, thanksgiving is a healing, reconciling force amid numerous inner hurts.
- Walk with humility and gratitude with an awareness of God and our fellowmen, past and present. Earlier cultures all had that healthy attitude. Only modern man has forgotten to give thanks, or thinks he owes nothing to anyone.
All we can give the eternal Power is joyful response-He has put the world in our hands-He trusts us l What a power He gives us! Always adequate. With each new breath, a new moment. He renews life breath by breath.
- A prayer of thanksgiving directs attention away from self-our needs, our problems, our sins, and all the rest that is us – and outward toward God – breaking the shell we build around ourselves-for now we concentrate on the good things that come from a good God who loves us.
Gratitude instinctively shares-like an involuntary word to a stranger on the beauty of a sunset. And is there a mother who hasn’t gotten a spontaneous flower gift from her child?
- Thanksgiving is becoming acutely aware of life. It is helping each person enjoy what is actually here for us to enjoy simply the things we already have.
- Whenever men can feel themselves supported, unthreatened, cherished, something like a healing miracle takes place. The experience of being affirmed stirs an inner urge to affirm others; the grateful acceptance of even passing moments of beauty and happiness prompts at least spasmodic impulses of generosity toward others. Thanksgiving enjoyed passes into thanksgiving enacted ; in acts of giving, sharing, helping, building- God’s blessings enjoyed stirs our sense of obligation to be an agent of blessing, an instrument of God’s peace.
By these and many more thoughts, this community found that there is a covenant of humility and gratitude, of thanks and giving that brings communion among people. They found thanksgiving to be:
- Universal to human experience
- Happy, harmonious and uniting
- Sacred to the heritage of any man
- An illumination at any moment in the life of any individual
The movement of thanksgiving might be briefly stated: God loves, we accept His Love, and we are empowered to love others. It might be more fully stated:
1. God lovingly acts in pouring out creation, blessing, beauty, providence and mercy, which we can see by faith …
2. We accept His gifts by the spirit of thanks-giving with awe and gladness, communion and commitment which transforms us in hope …
3. We are moved by the power of God’s presence to share, heal, unite, serve joyfully loving as He loves – completing the circle of blessing started by God.
We are drawn up in the spirit of gratitude and are opened to an appreciation and reverence for life and its creator that turns us from isolation to joy and sharing. Here is world understanding on a deep level- what binds men together is the need to give thanks.
Let us hold hands around the earth in a circle of gratitude – returning His flow of life to us, in a flow of praise to Him and service to His children.
* The Thanks-Giving Square is a non-profit foundation which is building and will maintain and operate an inter–religious, international place of gratitude for all in the centre of Dallas, Texas.
Following this, the Yueh Lung Ying Hsi Dramatic Group presented a traditional Chinese shadow theater, depicting one of their classical legends.
From the programe note: “The Classic Legends of the Oriental theater, in shadow, puppet and live form, depict a system of thought and ethics based on religion, historic epics and folk tales. The classic tales are told by means of improvised scenarios …”
The Meditation Group Singers then sang the traditional American thanksgiving hymn, “We Gather Together,” and the programme closed with a silent offering of prayerful gratitude .
WE GATHER TOGETHER
- We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
- He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
- The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
- Sing praises to His Name: He forgets not His own.
- Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
- Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
- So from the beginning the fight we were winning:
- Thou, Lord, wast at our side, all glory be Thine!
- We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader triumphant,
- And pray that Thou still our Defender wilt be.
- Let Thy congregation escape tribulation:
- Thy Name be ever praised! 0 Lord, make us free!
-Netherlands Folk Song
Arr. by Edward Kremser, 1838-1914
THANKSGIVING AROUND THE WORLD
Harvest Festival or Thanksgiving is celebrated in many ways around the world} and the following excerpts from the printed programme of the International Day of Thanksgiving function illustrate some of these practices in various countries :
November 23} LABOR-THANKSGIVING DAY
November 23 is the Kinro-kansha-no-hi, or Labor- Thanksgiving Day. It is a day for people to express gratitude for success and abundance, to reflect on the dignity of labour, and to congratulate one another upon successes of the past year.
HARVEST FEAST (Pelabuhan Ratu, West Java)
For three consecutive nights during the last week of May, the peasants of Sirnaresmi, near Pelabuhan Ratu, hold a feast as a token of gratitude to the Goddess of Agriculture, Dewi Sri, for the past year’s harvest. Offerings are presented and shows are held to mark the occasion.
Jeune Federal is Fasting Day, celebrated this year on September 21 . Many people fast, or eat fruit pies and no meat, depending on the harvest in each particular part of the country. It has been celebrated for hundreds of years throughout Switzerland as a sign of atonement for the rest of the year and in thanksgiving for the harvest.
December 26-January 1 KWANZA
Kwanza is a word meaning “first” or in this case it signifies the first fruits. Celebration of harvesting the first crops or first fruits is traditional in Africa. At this time of year the people come together to make joyful noises, give thanks and enjoy the blessing of living, and acting together for the community. Everyone brings what they grew or made to contribute to the Karuma (feast) in the celebration.
In some parts of Africa, the harvest festival is observed by bringing field and garden crops to a sacred tree where the harvest is blessed by the incantations of the medicine man.
(co-sponsored by the International Co-operation for Peace Committee and the Meditation Group at the United Nations)
International Vegetarian Thanksgiving Buffet
Tuesday: 25 November, 1975 – 6:30 p.m. X-Press Bar, United Nations
Opening Silent Prayer
Japanese Miso Soup
Stuffed Vine Leaves
Mixed Vegetable Salad
Raita (Yogurt and cucumber)
Whole wheat, onion rye, cornmeal. sesame seed crackers
Pumpkin pie with whipped yogurt
Fresh fruit tans
Coffee. tea, mint tea
With grateful thanks to:
- Annam Brahma Restaurant, 84-43 164th Street, Jamaica. New York 11432
- Nectar-Bliss Bakery, Second Ave, Manhattan, New York