Today is Thanksgiving for the United States of America, and that includes us here in my home of Hawaii as the 50th State of the union. We’ve only been part of America since 1959, yet according to the kūpuna here (our elders) we’ve celebrated this very American holiday for much longer; we Hawaiians are quick to jump into most new excuses for celebration! Thanksgiving is but one example for us; we have such a melting pot of cultures here in our islands we celebrate holidays thought of as European, Asian, African, Canadian, Australian — you name it. People in Hawaii love food and drink, and we love to party.

As you read this, I can guarantee you that if I’m awake right now, I’m in a party and I’m snacking. Food, and lots of it, is always the common denominator for holidays celebrated here. With the blessings of nearly always pleasant weather, we’re big on outdoor picnics and barbecues, even for the Thanksgiving turkey, for we were cooking food in the imu (underground oven) surrounded by ti leaf and intensely heated rocks long before stoves and ovens were even invented.

With the day of the holiday itself so completely concentrated on the preparation of food and simply having a good time with friends and family, there’s usually not much done the day before the holiday either — that ends up to be the time you do anything else associated with the reason for the holiday in the first place (or you shop for the food).

So yesterday, I spent nearly my entire day writing thank you cards and notes, both electronic ones and hand-written ones. I made some phone calls, but they were almost all about the same singular thing: Saying thank you, and taking full advantage of the fact that Thanksgiving was forcing the issue with me. I say mahalo (thank you in Hawaiian) quite a bit, but I realize I will never ever be able to say it as much as people should hear it from me. I have an awful lot to be grateful for, and living with an attitude of gratitude is good for me in so many ways.

A friend in Europe wrote back to me, “Thank you for the card Rosa, it was nice of you to think of me too although we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.” Well, today, you can give thanks no matter where you are; Drop the capital T if you must, and just think of it as thanks – giving day. Use this as your excuse to party hearty in the pure joy of appreciating all you have, and all who are a part of your life. Say “thank you” whether the word for you is Talofa (Samoan) Salamat (Filipino) Muito obrigado (Portuguese) Danke (German) or something else. (For more ways to say thank you in other languages, click in here.)

There is something about that sentiment, thank you, that people love hearing; saying it softens your tone and gives a fullness and richness to your voice. I have never heard someone say thank you genuinely and from the heart and have it sound anything but wonderful.

Mahalo nui loa; thank you very much for reading today. I fully realize how much in this life can vie for your attentions, and I sincerely do appreciate that you have shared this brief moment with me. Now, are you hungry?

Rosa Say, author of Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawaii’s Universal Values to the Art of Business and the Talking Story blog.

Related Article References: 1. Write Your Joy. 2. Be Grateful and Be Happy.
Previous Thursday Column: How to Drive a Customer Crazy.

Love this article?