Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate, and happy Thursday to those who don’t. Regardless of your nationality, it’s always nice to take a moment to think about the good things in your life and be thankful for them, be they big or small. It’s a nice reminder when things aren’t always going so well.
Although Thanksgiving is seen primarily as a North American holiday (our Canadian neighbors to the north celebrate a few weeks before we do in the US), there still is a Dutch connection to the holiday. In fact, the Pilgrims spent approximately 12 years in the Netherlands, around Leiden, before actually heading to the new world. There’s even a Pilgrim museum in Leiden, which gives a bit of history on their time there, and includes information about the origins of the Thanksgiving celebration, which may have begun during their time in the Netherlands. As mentioned in Wikipedia, “According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden.”
I’d be interested in visiting the museum someday. As the website says, the museum aims to present the reality behind the Pilgrim myth. Part of the myth seems to be that they went straight from England to the Americas. I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn anything about a stopover in the Netherlands when I was in school and learning about the pilgrims.
I guess I’m thankful for the opportunity to continue to learn, both about my home country and my adopted homeland. The fact that the two countries have been so intertwined for centuries makes things even more interesting.