Yesterday, “the First of August,” is a seasonal reference in my culture. Technically, it is a seasonal reference for autumn – we used to go by Chinese or lunar calendar, whose August 1st (or the day of new moon for August) falls around the end of August on the Gregorian or solar calendar that we go by today, by which time autumn season has already begun for us.
In the olden days, by “the First of August” early harvesting of rice was completed, and those who helped with the successful growing season were visited by farmers and gifted with the first crop of the season as a token of appreciation. This practice soon spread to other social classes and became a date to thank those who help and guide you through life. I suppose I can call it our version of Thanksgiving Day…?
Sadly, the tradition only remains viable in a handful of people of professions with strong cultural influences and those who practice certain forms of traditional art.
Maybe, to a large extent, it is because we go by a different calendar today and there now exists a gap between the date and its traditional meaning.
But maybe, as much as I hate to think it, we have become less appreciative of those who help us out?
Maybe our lives have become richer in so many ways, we are no longer grateful enough of how fortunate we are to have the people and things we have around us?
Maybe we are able to obtain so many more things so much easier today, we are too arrogant and/or ignorant to thank those who bring them about to us?
Earlier in the year, I scribbled about the significance in my culture of taking a bow like rice stalks to show, among other things, gratitude. As I think about it a bit more in light of “the First of August” in our day and age, I feel I have come to a deeper understanding of its significance.
Maybe it takes much more humility and sincerity, and maybe a lot of courage in addition, to admit the fact that we are often helped by others despite wishing to believe we are capable of doing everything on our own, and acknowledge with due respect the contributions by others to our well-being.
But maybe it is still not too late to realize this – the thanksgiving spirit is still alive in us as a seasonal reference, reminding us of its importance.
So I ask myself, have I thanked the people around me lately? Maybe not enough.
Then, although it is a day belated, I shall thank you all in accordance with “the First of August.” You have been truly wonderful in helping and guiding me through here with your visits and likes!
I bow to you with utmost humility and sincerity.
Please excuse me for not visiting you personally to bring you this token of appreciation… I do take sneak peeks at your sites, but I am still too timid to knock on your doors and leave my footprints. I cannot say if I have enough of something in me to return the favour when you are in need of help or guidance, but I hope you know that you now have a place here you can come by any time you want and stay as long as you want. Through the front door or back, with or without footprints!