For about 14 years I organized a big event called Thanksgiving Celebrations and Awards Night - about 500 people attended the first one, and we had mayors, congress persons and other including members of different communities joined in for the celebrations.
I learned a lot in the process. One of the senior citizens Mr. Shah from the Jain tradition taught me a big lesson, thanks to him. He called on me - being an Indian, it is very cultural and acceptable to me - he said what did your father teach you? don't you know how to separate the food for vegetarians? From that day forward, I have been super sensitive to the needs of my multifaith and multicultural friends about Kosher, Halal and Vegetarian needs. Indeed, my father taught me to respect every one.
It all started when I discovered that many a immigrants had no idea what thanksgiving was all about. The event was organized to familiarize immigrants with the festivities of thanksgiving. It was a full program starting with gratitude to Native Americans and then carving the Turkey on the stage and have the same fixings...followed by recognizing individuals who have gone beyond their way to build bridges. http://
The highlight of the program was - 5 Cultural dances to reflect cultural pluralism. We always started it with a Native American dance and prayer to the four corners followed by 4 different cultural dance each time... Czech to Filipino, Belly dancing to Taiwanese, Brazilians display of colors the Mexican, Indian Bhangra to polka dances....
Finally, I yielded to my son to spend exclusive time with family on thanksgiving. I am glad I listened to him... it is good to be with the family... This is my son's family - wife, her sister and friend, her parents, Jeff's mom, sister and Dad... and of course Jayden, the little rascal in the family! In my case, at this time, I have to split my holidays - Thanksgiving lunch with Jeff's family in Dallas, and then Thanksgiving Dinner with Yasmeen in Jeffersonville, Indiana.