By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Mexico’s economic recession and growing violence did not put a damper on the American Benevolent Society’s (ABS) annual Thanksgiving luncheon at Christ Church Anglican-Episcopal Parish in Mexico City’s Colonia Lomas de Chapultepec on Thursday, Nov 28.
Nearly 100 American expats and Mexicans showed up to celebrate the traditional U.S. holiday with the lavish, sit-down feast of turkey and dressing with all the trimmings.
Newly instated ABS executive director Aliki Elias welcomed the guests with a brief history of the holiday’s origins and meaning.
Elias also read the “Five Grains of Corn” story, a moving account of how, during their first winter, the early American pilgrims were reduced to rations of just five kernels of grain before they were rescued by the bountiful generosity of the native Americans.
Consequently, it has become an ABS Thanksgiving tradition to place five grains of corn beside the plates of each guest.
Christ Church Parish Rector Matt Seddon offered the blessing before the meal.
The lunch began with an assortment of cream cheese and jalapeno chile jam and coriander mousse canapés and ended with sumptuous homemade pumpkin and apple pie topped with fresh whipped cream, all accompanied with a selection of premium red and white wines.
The ABS has hosted annual Thanksgiving feasts for the U.S. community in Mexico since shortly after its founding in 1868.
The tradition of a Thanksgiving feast purportedly began in New England in 1621, when the pilgrims at Plymouth were rescued from starvation by the indigenous people of the region, who shared their food and knowledge of planting with the European settlers.
In 1817, the state of New York adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual institution, and by the middle of the 19th century, other northern states had adopted the custom.
Thanksgiving Day was first celebrated as a national U.S. holiday in 1863, in accordance with the proclamation issued by then-President Abraham Lincoln as a gesture of reconciliation after the American Civil War.
Since then, each U.S. president has issued a Thanksgiving Day proclamation, usually designating the fourth Thursday of each November as the holiday.