Archive for the ‘Thanksgiving’ Tag

The essence of giving thanks   13 comments

Thanksgiving is as foreign to Argentines as tango is foreign to Americans. They are traditions that need to be learned before they are understood and adopted. For Americans Thanksgiving Day is a time to sit down together, count their blessings, and give thanks for their families and their loved ones. Families in America are a reflection of the diversity of this great nation. No two are exactly alike, but there is a common thread they each share, and the traditions and rituals of Thanksgiving have been passed from generation to generation.

Tango is not that sacred for Argentines, but for those who consider it their way of life, it is a sociocultural phenomena rich in rituals and traditions that is celebrated all year around with the extended families that are formed with those who share the same love and passion for the music, the poetry and the dance. Likewise, the rituals and traditions are passed from generation to generation. Thanksgiving has not transcended to Argentina the way tango has been inserted into the American culture. But it ever does, you can rest assured that the traditions will be respected and preserved, and no turkey will be replaced with ostrich for an alternative Thanksgiving dinner. No High Five Giving Day either.

Imagine if you can, one who makes the decision to become an American as an adult. The discovery of a tradition such as Thanksgiving Day takes time to absorb and understand, but when it does, it takes on a special meaning of its own. Blame it on worn out neurons but I have little recollection of Thanksgiving Days before 1995. This was the year Valorie and I spent our first Thanksgiving together, less than a week after she moved from New York to Sunnyvale. We were the guests of an Argentine couple in San Francisco. The turkey was cooked in brandy. Then we danced tango.

The next year I was in Los Angeles and Valorie in New York. The year after we both were in New York, and in 1998 we gave our first Thanksgiving Grand milonga with turkey and all the trimmings at the Dance Spectrum in Campbell, CA. Then in 1999 we spent Thanksgiving in a corn field outside Champaign, IL. This started a tradition that continued in New Orleans, first in the French Quarter, then Uptown and the Irish Channel. Our devotion to the spirit of the holiday has been super sized by our love of the tango and everything good that it inspires.

Valorie and I are busy preparing Thanksgiving dinner, and setting the table to share it with loved ones. We’ll remember everyone who took us into their homes and those who came to ours over the years, and be thankful for the memories. We will toast to all of you, count our blessings and give thanks for having you all in our lives.

A Thanksgiving to Remember