Followers or leaders

| 26/11/2009

Today is Thanksgiving Day (a time to give thanks for the harvest and to show gratitude in general – started by the Pilgrims) in the US and one of the biggest holiday weekends in that country. Ihave noticed over the past ten years or so the increasing adoption of this day into our local culture and the ensuing celebrations by many.

I have no major issue with this, as it is indeed good to set aside at least one day of the year for giving “Thanks” as a nation. The Americans (and those closely aligned with them, such as ex-service men or past residents and their families) in these islands are entitled to celebrate their day. My question is simply this: why can’t we have OUR own Thanksgiving Day, where the date is indeed significant to us rather than a mere adoption?

I tried to make this happen while I was an MLA with little success, so the chance of my achieving this now is probably even slimmer, but I believe with all my heart that September 11th /12th each year should be a time that these islands pause and reflect and give thanks to God for all his mercies, after our experience with Hurricane Ivan in 2004. This monster of a storm changed our landscape, our people (and hopefully their outlook on materialism) forever and all this with very minimal loss of life. For this we should be eternally grateful to God! We survived and re-built, while the world watchedand thought we were gone forever and could not.

Things Caymanian are important to me and many others and I believe that too often we adopt culture, mannerisms and habits in this country without taking time to reflect and adapt them to our own style and needs.

I use this medium therefore now to stimulate public discussion on this matter and at the end of the day the majority, as usual, should dictate what happens in this regard. I trust there is some public support for this idea and I understand also that another holiday on the calendar could pose problems for the decision makers, but maybe it could be achieved by some change to the existing holidays, for instance combining with National Heroes Day or some other.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Let us not forget that 11th-12th September were not only the dates for Ivan in 2004 but Gilbert in 1988.   

  2. Anonymous says:

    Perhaps we should have a day of giving thanks to England without whose links Cayman would have nothing.

  3. JahDread says:



    the history of thanksgiving in the US needs to be fully told, the pilgrims celebrated landing isn someone elese’s land, raping and killing them, taking their land and then giving thanks.  Check it out Reead I say Read!!!

    • Mike Hennessy says:

      What happened to the indigenous American Indian population is indeed grievous.  No one should be able to consider the cruelties and crimes against them without feelings of regret.  However, the history of all the populations of all the continents reveals a history awash in the blood of innocents and genocide upon  genocide.  Read enough and you will begin to put the European conquest of the Americas into some sort of context.  Point to any place on the map and you will find evidence of conflicts between people trying to claim the same pieces of land.  I am not here to defend the conduct of the Conquistadors or the hardships inflicted on the Trail of Tears, but reading will show you that there are precious few clean hands when it comes to unravelling the history population movements and the settlement of nations. 

  4. Mike Hennessy says:

    Taking a day to pause and reflect on one’s blessings with a feast of local delicacies seems to me like a good idea whatever one’s religious convictions.  Not that it really matters what food is served if hearts are in the right place.

    As an American who survived Ivan Sept 12 strikes me as an ideal day to pause and reflect on what happened and what might have happened.  The loss of two lives and the damage to property and  Grand Cayman’s infrastructure were sorely felt, but I remember thinking at the time that once the winds died down we would  find a death toll that would be equivalent to a war zone. 

    Now that I am living back in the states, I am pleased to honor Thanksgiving, but rest assured that I also pause to remember that on Sept 12th of 2004 my life and the lives of everyone on Grand Cayman hung in the balance.  The least I can do on that do, wherever I may be is to pause on that date and say "thank you" that my life was spared when it could so easily have been taken.  

    I have done that and will continue to do that whether the Government sees fit to make it an official holiday or not.  

    • Ossie Bodden says:

      Mike I’m very grateful for your comments.  Here is an American person who experienced Ivan appreciating the signficance of this date.  This shows how traumatising and life changing the event was.  One to my mind that should be marked in some way.  This is not about turkey or food folks, rather about National recognition for an event that changed our lives and country forever.

      As I said my intent was to stimulate discussion, and whether you agree or disagree with my view I do appreciate all of your views and comments.  Give thanks!  God Bless.

    • Twyla Vargas says:

      MIKE, THANKS FOR REMINDING US. That was a day to remember, and  many times I think that we should celebrate our own Holidays and Thanks giving.  Why do we have to do things to please others, not even knowing if it is wrong or right.  In the same breath, I must say that Jedi Dred is correct,

      We need to set aside special days that we can recognize where we should give special thanks.  Everything seems to be forgotten.  Even Ivan, But how can we really do that if we are grateful, because everybody had a story to tell.

      I remember being locked in a bathroom with my family, two sons and their wives, and their children including a pair of 6 month old twins and a two month old infant. also two grown pitbull dogs, who did not even start a fight.  In this location I was about 50 yards from the Ocean. " I saw it all, and felt it all, went into shock the next day, and walked past my home about five times asking someone to show me where it was, imagine a place I had lived most of my life but could not find it after one day.   Cayman, listen up, we are not, but should be on our knees three times a day.

      Whether we believe it or not, God chooses his people who is to do labour for him, just the same when a boss chooses you to be supervisors on the job.  He sees potential.  Give thanks, yes,  it is the only hope for us today.  Walk good.


  5. Anonymous says:

    I think it is a good idea to have a Cayman thanksgiving day but not on 11th / 12th September as this is peak hurricane season. It wont always be as quiet a hurricane season as we had this yearand a holiday peak season could create chaos in the whole preparedness plan.

  6. Dred says:

    I see nothing wrong with a Caymanian Thanksgiving.

    I also see nothing wrong with it being September 12th as it marked our survival from what is our generations biggest challenge.

    Generally when you do something like this it is suppose to mark some sort of large event much the way the US is now marking September 11th.

    I think the day after Ivan should be marked as Thanksgiving for that is the day we survived to, to rebuild our Island.

    As for event it is to me the largest of my generation and even our elders have said they never remembered 32 being as menacing as Ivan was.

    I believe we should give thanks every day but if we are to mark a day I can see no more important date right now in our time as September 12th is.

    As for it being 3rd Week in November isn’t that right up on the US Thanksgiving and isn’t that just kind of mimicing instead of establishing something of more significance to us.

  7. Jab Jab says:

    I had "thanksgiving dinner" twice this week. It wasn’t to "Give Thanks", it was an excuse to eat a big meal with other people. As a Caymanian I’ll take any excuse for that. To suggest that we need to in some way officiate a Thanksgiving Day just so we can do so is a bit silly I’ve always thought. And a Thanksgiving Day focusing on hurricanes, thats just rubing (seasoning) salt in wounds. Would all the Thanksgiving Lovers just cook your own turkey and not bother everyone else with your piousness.

  8. Twyla Vargas says:

    YA MEAN TO TELL me una cant even take a little Thanks giving note.  Ozzie aint the worse person you know, even if he does not have that much to say right now. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    To the posting Ossie I wont be getting any Turkey…


    I believe u got the wrong man.. you must be referring to Mark and Joke Joke as Ossie did not give away any Turkey… Please make your request to the the Dram team that is in power now and i am sure you will get whatever you want, afterall that is how they got in by giving away THINGS… 

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hey Mr. Bodden, a local Thanksgiving Day would be a good substitute for National Heroes Day ! After all, we don’t have any true National Heroes – one dedicated career civil servant who did her job – albeit very well for her entire career. But that could apply to a good many civil servants of her era, and I could name quite a few.

    The other guy with the statue!!!???  Puleeze!! He would be more suitably revered during Pirates Week!

  11. Anonymouse says:

    Ossie! I wont be getting any Turkey from you this christmas, and that not being enough you want to deprive me of my thanksgiving one too.

    Leave things the way they are. You can always change it when you hold power.

    • Anonymous says:

      To post 14:35 ,you are a shallow minded. Ossie had a good idea, think outside of the box, you nut.


      • Anonymouse says:

        You are so shallow minded that you believe Ossies idea is good.

        Put your brain in gear before you open your mouth and abuse others.

  12. Anonymous says:

    We need a holiday between early June and early November – it is just too long.  Perhaps we could ditch Ash Wednesday or Constitution Day and have something in August or September.

    • Anonymous says:

      Public Holidays are supposed to be of significance in some way, not because there is too long a gap between them.

  13. KT says:

    I think it’s a good idea for a Cayman Thangsgiving Day – to be thankful for surviving a hurricane season.  To have it in September, usually the busiest part of Hurricane Season for us, might not be the best idea.  It might make more sense to have it in November, after the season is basically over – maybe the third Thursday in November would be a good day…?

    However, given that hurricanes tend to disrupt business and force them to close, even if a hurricane does not actually hit us, I can see where some might be hesitant to give another day off when it is all over.

    I also have always thought we should have a national holiday for Pirates Week or Heritage Week or whatever they are calling it now.  The Friday when it starts should be a holiday.  Pirates Week is purely a tourism generating initiative.  Bt if we are going to try to turn it into some kind of celebratation of our Heritage (which is long gone, by the way) then maybe we should honor it by closing shop.

    But the fact is, National Holidays are expensive – they cost Govt and private businesses a lot of money because all those salaries have to be paid with no work being done, or if you can’t close, you have to pay extra.  It is a really nice thought, but maybe it’s just not practical…

  14. Heavy Cake says:

    Not a bad idea at its core, however, I can see it already: big turkey and stuffing and all the American foods on this proposed Caymanian Thanksgiving Day. That in itself would go against your attempts to ‘Caymanian-ize’ it as most residents would simply try to reproduce the American menu.

  15. what a mess says:

    Really now!

    With all that is going on in these troubled times, this is a leader of the peoples suggestion/concern?

    Come now Mr. Bodden…can you pleeeease bring something more uselfull to the table? Another holiday?


  16. Miller Time says:

    Don’t you all worry, Independence Day will come soon enough! Hang in there!

  17. anonymous says:

    I totally agree with you Mr. Bodden. I’ve been saying the same thing for years now and have been having my own Thanksgiving one September 12 for a few years now. I’ve been hoping that it will catch on soon!

    You have my family’s full support on this.

  18. Anonymous says:

    A special day to celebrate and give thanks is a good idea.  But to be fair I think Cayman has a lot of "signficant days" that should cause us to give thanks, September 11, 2004 is only one of them.    Others include the 1932 storm.  The Paloma hurricane. Constitution Day in 1959.  a day set aside to honor Children in Child Month.   

  19. Anon says:

    I have to say I don’t need a particular day set-aside in order to give thanks for surviving Hurricane Ivan, but if a day is needed to be set aside, there is little wrong with aligning it with the US holiday as it would have minimise the economic impact to have it at the same time as the US holiday.


  20. Pax says:

    There is, of course, precedent for aligning the date of a new holiday to an established holiday – which we will rememberin about a month’s time. Christians didn’t start celebrating the birth of Christ on 25th December until the mid-4th century, mostly because that was already a big pagan festival (to mark the birth of the sun god at the winter’s solstice) and everyone was out celebrating anyway. Really it makes sense. It unifies the people – after a few years the festivals merge into one (which is why we don’t see anything odd about having holly to keep the evil spirits at bay, etc). It’s also hugely practical to have your people hung over all on the same day rather than have a whole bunch different days where sub-sections of society are goofing off.

    By the way, bunnies, especially the chocolate ones, are clearly a symbol of fertility and do not have anything to do with Christian notions of Easter – another example of merging holidays.

    So, to your point: Caymanians can choose any day they like to celebrate whatever they like – although I would venture to suggest that celebrating the arrival of a hurricane is an odd idea – but it would make sense to have it at the same time as the US Thanksgiving. Or you could leave well alone and let everyone eat themselves silly together for reasons they are not quite sure of anyway.

    • Rufus B. Saye says:

      The idea of aligning a Cayman Thanksgiving holiday with the US one has the added benefit of easier access to those Black Friday sales 🙂