Many countries and cultures have celebrations of the Harvest Festival, which is what I consider Thanksgiving to be. In the UK, Harvest Festivals are generally celebrated in September. There is no set date on the calendar.
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I also don't consider Thanksgiving as a religious holiday. But I do make sure to give thanks to my deities. Since it's not a lunar holiday, nor a seasonal holiday - I just never tied it in that way. I often do rituals on Thanksgiving though.
As far as the American Thanksgiving, I celebrate it in the typical American style. Other I do leave offerings of food to the gods and goddesses outside on an altar that I have in the backyard. I never really looked at that thanksgiving as a religious holiday.
Copy/Pasting my response to this question as you posted in another group we are both in:
My feeling on Thanksgiving is that it is not a religious holiday, so I just enjoy it with my family :)
But more to your question...
1. I don't consider Samhain a harvest festival (Is it really? I'll have to double check my sources!) but a time to honor our dead.
2. Lammas is, from what I've read, a "first fruits" harvest festival - this is when you celebrate the harvesting of your very first crop of the year.
3. Mabon is a true harvest festival - after this, you are done harvesting and focus on food preservation and otherwise gearing up for winter.
4. Thanksgiving, IMO, is another name (as well as time and place) for Mabon. That final harvest happened at another time in the New World than it did in Britain, so it is celebrated at another time.
In the interest of full disclosure: For my own path, I do not celebrate the Wiccan "Wheel of the Year" with 8 holidays throughout the year. I celebrate Ostara (locally, when the first tree in my yard starts to show new growth), Midsummer (on, well, Midsummer), Samhain (locally, when the nights get consistently below freezing - which is conveniently about the end of October in my area!), and Yule (on, obviously enough, Yule). I do not celebrate any of the harvest/planting holidays as I do not have a yard conducive to gardening (I have several trees in a small lot - lots and lots of shade, which is very nice in my desert summers).
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I've got Halloween/Samhain all figured out, so next on the list is Thanksgiving. I was wondering if any of you had any information, site, or thoughts on the holiday. It seems a little strange that there would be three harvest festivals; Mabon in Sept, Samhain in Oct, and Thanksgiving in Nov...?
Here is what I found so far: "Some might think itís stretching the imagination to also tie in Thanksgiving with Pagan customs, but both Christian and Pagan religions give thanks, respectively, to God and their deities for the harvest... As Pagan Europeans immigrated, they brought their customs of harvest festivals: Lughnasadh, Mabon and Samhain. Both Pagan traditions, featuring special foods, later influenced celebrations of the American Thanksgiving." Read more: http://paganismwicca.suite101.com/article. cfm/pagan_symbolism_thanksgiving
Wampanoagan Squanto "taught the immigrants how to grow beans, corn, squash and other crops, using fish as a fertilizer... taught the people how to obtain sap from maple trees, dig for clams and other skills... The Wampanoag had their own harvest celebration in which they gave thanks for abundant crops to Kiehtan, the Creator." Read more: http://paganismwicca.suite101.com/article. cfm/thanksgiving_pagan_roots
"Giving thanks for the bounty of Providence is a practice as old as mankind and widespread as the human race... Customs now in use at harvest festivals have their counterparts in pagan countries; in many cases their origin and their significance is shrouded in mists of antiquity." Read more: http://qumran.com/Holiday_Files/thanksgivi ng_question.htm
(Cross-posted WWHP Team)
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