Thanksgiving in Bali

There are many American and Western holidays that I would never want to duplicate in a new country. That is not true of Thanksgiving. It is a holiday of giving thanks for a good harvest and provision of the last year. It is a moment to stop with friends and family to give thanks.

We have been given such amazing hospitality here.  I have been humbled by their generosity, openness, honesty, love and acceptance. Not to mention the amazing cooking we have tasted. It was nice to do something little for them.


We were taken for shopping, for the meal, at the “traditional market” for the meal. balimarket

At one point Andrew counted 41 people at the same time but about 50 came. balitdaymeal

We got some great photos of our friends so I thought I would put them up here.

I am starting to see dynamic equivalents in cultures around the world for Thanksgiving. A few days ago,  here in Bali, there was a festival day in which the streets were full of motorbikes with families in full ceremonial dress and baskets of gifts to show respect for their deities. The Muslims celebrate Eid Al-Adha. This is when a lamb is slaughtered in remembrance of the Sacrifice where the Koran says God stopped Abraham’s cutting Ishmael’s throat. We were there watching as the men sang, the women watch, they all drank tea and the courtyard was full of sheep waiting for the slaughter. Families would bring home the slaughtered lamb, feast with their families and the poor families that could not afford their own lamb.




So here we are going home for Thanksgiving. What do we see? A Blizzard. Seriously! The blizzard is coming in, they have closed the roads!. We are checked into a hotel in beautiful Ogden, Utah. Turn on the weather channel and they are talking about our blizzard with lovely Ogden smack in the center. Heck they are showing little movies of the Blizzard in Ogden. We are just trying to get to my parents house in Salem, Oregon in time for the Thanksgiving meal. Not sure. I better get in touch with my sister to see what time they are eating the meal. Seeming more and more like it will be down to the minute.

Food Portugal


The biggest Thanksgiving turkey we ever had was 33 pounds (15 kilos) which just squeezed into our double oven. We served 45 people that day, in our home in Portland, Oregon. I was the chef, of course, which means that I took all the credit for the entire meal which was, to be honest, composed of many other food items that my wife had made – sweet potato souffle with marshmellow, jello salads, pumpkin pie – but he who cooks and carves the turkey wears the crown. Just the way it is.


We invited a lot of international students who wanted a real American thanksgiving. It didn’t matter that I was a New Zealander. There were Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists. We all went round in a large circle giving thanks for what God had done for us. It took a while. It was a big happy memorable day. Hope you have the same today. We are having a slow and kind Thanksgiving here in Portugal.

For those of you outside USA, who only know of Thanksgiving from old episodes of Happy Days, Bob Beltz has an informative article on the history of Thanksgiving. And thanks to CG Grant and Co for sending me a nice Thanksgiving letter and this animated GIF that I appropriated.