The Zicasso team wishes everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. With gratitude and appreciation, we want to thank our community of travelers as well as travel specialist partners. At Zicasso, we celebrate the harvest of wonderful memories and indelible experiences that come from our travels.
As we reflect on gratitude during this holiday, we wanted to share this blog post contributed by our guest blogger, Rod White.
Thanksgiving is a unique holiday to the United States in its celebration of the first successful harvest by the Pilgrims -- a harvest that was critical for their survival. The first Thanksgiving was a three-day celebration of abundance together with the Native American peoples whose kind sharing of foods and friendship played a key role in the Pilgrims' survival. It has since broadened to include thankfulness for family, home, friends and many other things which are essential for quality of life.
Other countries in South America have their own special days which are comparable and set aside for celebrating their thankfulness. The southern neighbor to the United States is still solidly rooted in Catholic beliefs, so most of their celebrations revolve around such ideals.
The celebration of El Señor de los Milagros (The Lord of the Miracles) is celebrated on October 18 and 19. This celebration of Peru’s thankfulness stems from a “miracle” that occurred 1655 and is best experienced in Lima where streams of purple material deck the city.
In 1651, an Angolan slave painted a mural on an adobe wall in an area known as Pachacamilla which shows Christ hanging on the cross with the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene at his side. A tremendous earthquake occurred which killed thousands of people and destroyed most of the city. However, the only wall standing in a large area surrounding it was the wall on which the mural was painted. Another earthquake hit the same area in 1687 and again the only wall spared was the one which held the mural.
Festa do Divino, or the Festival of the Holy Spirit, is a weeklong celebration held throughout Brazil 50 days after Easter. Paraty, a colonial town on Rio de Janeiro’s coast, is the best place to experience this thankful festival.
This lively Brazilian celebration stems from the traditions of the Portuguese who colonized the country. It is a time to show thanks for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Apostles of Christ and all the blessings associated with it.
The Virgen de la Candelaria festival is celebrated in Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela, with the Bolivian festival mainly taking place around Lake Titicaca, specifically in the town of Copacabana. The Virgin Mary, Bolivia’s Patroness, is known also as the Dark Virgin of the Lake and is attributed with bestowing many miracles upon the native peoples.
Normally, this quiet little farming and herding town plays host to backpackers and other tourists who come to see the beauty of the Andes Mountains and Lake Titicaca, but the week before February 2, the day of the celebration, it transforms into a colorful and lively atmosphere full of music, drinking, parades and people dressed in costume.
La Virgen de las 40 Horas, the Virgin of 40 hours, celebration swells the city of Limache during the last week of February as people from all over Chile ascend on it to give thanks to this miracle worker. The common story behind the holiday is that a large group of fishermen were rescued by the Virgin Mary exactly 40 hours after their ship went down in a raging storm.
The festival begins, appropriately enough, 40 hours before the last Sunday of the month. Huge crowds attend masses provided each hour in the church of Santuario de Nuestra Señora de las Cuarenta Horas. At one point, a large procession moves through the city with throngs of the faithful praying, burning incense and giving thanks to the Lady of Miracles.
Where have you experienced celebrations of thanksgiving in other parts of the world? We'd love to know!