Friday, December 04, 2009

THANKSGIVING - Norfolk Island style
Thanksgiving on Norfolk Island had its origins in the American Thanksgiving, but has been adapted and developed to suit the Norfolk Island way. It is not necessarily a family festival, although families do celebrate it together. However, we would not expect people to "come home" for Thanksgiving - they would be more likely to do that for Christmas. When Thanksgiving began here, probably later in the 19th century, "coming home" would have meant a sea voyage!!!
Our Thanksgivng, on the 4th Wednesday of November, is more like a harvest festival, and the main focus is on going to church to give thanks and celebrate God's wonderful provision. We still live somewhat closer to the soil here than many of our mainland counterparts, and there are not so many steps and stages between the growing and the eating.
The church is decorated with corn and sugar cane and other produce. The corn is grown by Franklin, who inherited the "responsibility" from Doug when he died. Nothing gets in the way of this. Franklin has been away for medical treatment for some time, but he made sure the corn seed was planted before he went. And because he could not get back for Thanksgiving, he arranged for some mates to harvest it and deliver it to the church.
After the service, the produce is sold. At the Uniting Church service, which runs concurrently with the Church of England one, it is auctioned off. The Seventh Day Adventist church holds its Thanksgiving service in the afternoon, and many go to this one as well as one of the morning services.
It is reasonably safe to be a turkey at Thanksgivng on Norfolk. We do not usually go for the big sit-down dinner. But many of us take the opportunity for a get-together.
This year we gathered at Arthur's "Onion Patch". There would have been 80-90 of us this year, and there was a magnificent potluck feast to enjoy. This included a big boiler of the lovely fresh corn cobs that had been stripped from the stalks after the service that morning!

The food was laid out in the cool shelter of one of Arthur's sheds.
There were plenty of beautiful desserts as well!They were placed on these upturned logs because there was just no room on the table!

William found a girlfriend to sit with for lunch.

It was such a relaxing afternoon, and we all lingered in the lovely surroundings, wishing the Thanksgiving holiday would go on forever.

1 comment:

Karen said...

It all looks wonderful Mary, thanks for sharing with us.

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