Thanksgiving Message from President of Igbo Organization of New England
On October 3, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln, in spite of the pressures of a bloody civil war in which the nation was embroiled, found time to issue a proclamation setting aside the last Thursday in November as a national day of giving thanks. This proclamation set the precedent for the American holiday which we will celebrate tomorrow.
But long before Lincoln, our people, the Igbo people of Southeastern Nigeria, have celebrated Thanksgiving. We have taken the time to offer thanks to God and to Ahajioku the god of yam, for bountiful harvest. We did not need football or roasted turkey or pumpkin pies. We simply needed ji, the king of crops, oji, the symbol of our worship and hospitality, and a grateful heart.
Giving thanks was part of our daily lives. In the morning, we broke kolanuts and gave thanks to God for letting us see a new day. When visitors arrived, we broke kolanut and gave thanks to God for bringing them to us safely. When fortune smiled at us, and when our labors were rewarded, we gave thanks. We also gave thanks when our daughters married, when a new life arrived and when sickness abated. We are simply a people with a heart of gratitude.
Tomorrow, let us join millions of Americans in setting aside a time to give thanks, remembering the many blessings of God in our lives. Let us bless God for family, friends, provisions and each other.
This is wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.
God bless you.
God bless Ndiigbo.
Dr. Ejike Eze
President, Igbo Organization of New England