Sunday, November 25, 2007


My favorite holiday has to be Thanksgiving. It is a uniquely American holiday born when our English ancestors came to America 200 or or so years ago and gave their thanks to be alive. Years ago, our family befriended a family from Japan on temporary assignmnent in the US. They had many fond memories of Thanksgiving and also Halloween (the kids just thought it unbelievable that it was acceptable once a year to dress up as a monster or princess and go door to door begging for candy.) When they returned to Japan, they tried to recreate the Thanksgiving Day feast, but whole turkey is not a traditional Japanese food thus difficult to find and expensive.

In my mom's culture, the most significant custom to me is New Year's. No, not New Year celebrations but cleaning for the new year. Every year about a week before New Year's Day, my mom would go through all of the cupboards and organize and discard stuff , dust all of the things not normally dusted every week, vacuum, mop and generally go into what would I would later describe as a cleaning frenzy. Just before midnight, she would take the garbage out of the house, then jump into the shower. The premise being that if you were clean at the first of the year, you would be clean for the rest of the year. And, of course, she was.

I, myself have slacked over the years and have not kept up her example. But this year I decided to do it. I made my list and have already started somewhat. For instance, that shirt that I started sewing in high school but never finished, it's history. Even if I finished it, I couldn't wear it. It is time for parting with the past and looking forward to the future.


Tui said...

How sweet that your Japanese pals tried to recreate Thanksgiving dinner for themselves.

I am curious, what do you mean "in your mom's culture"? Where is she from?

I like her New Year's ritual, though. Makes sense. My step-daughter and I used to make our own list of predictions for the coming New Year.

It was really fun to read the previous year's predictions and see what we were right about and what we were completely wrong about.

Anonymous said...

That's a great tradition. I may join you on that idea :)