Giving Thanks

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

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Thanksgiving is America’s most celebrated tradition. It falls every year on the fourth Thursday in the month of November.  Its origin can be traced back to the 16th century when the first thanksgiving dinner is said to have taken place.

In 1609, a group of Puritans fleeing religious persecution in England moved to Holland. They ­lived in Holland for a number of years until, in 1620, a group of English investors — the Merchant Adventurers — financed a trip for more than 100 passengers to the New World. On Sept. 6, 1620, 102 passengers set sail on a ship called the Mayflower, a 17th century sailing vessel leaving from England. The pilgrims reached Plymouth Rock on December 11th 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days.  Many did not make the final landing in Plymouth (Massachusetts), succumbing to the extreme cold. Still many others perished from that first cold winter in Plymouth without much food.

In the spring of 1621, native Indians taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food. With their help, the Pilgrims were able to survive in the New World. They were taught how to get sap out of the maple trees, how to avoid plants that were poisonous and how to plant corn, beans and pumpkins. In the autumn of 1621, Plymouth Colony’s first governor, William Bradford, decided to throw a celebratory feast and invited the colony’s American Indian neighbors to take part. The American Indians brought food as well, and the celebration is said to have lasted for three days. The grand feast was organized to thank God for his favors. This communal dinner is popularly known as the “first thanksgiving”. It’s uncl­ear whether the Pilgrims themselves called that first feast a thanksgiving celebration, but they were certainly celebrating the abundance of food and the peace with their American Indian neighbors. There is however, no evidence to prove if the dinner actually took place; some historians believe pilgrims were quite religious in which case, their thanksgiving would have included a day of fasting and praying. Other historians say that the dinner did indeed take place.

It wasn’t until several years later, after enduring a month’s long drought, that Thanksgiving was celebrated in earnest. In response to the hot, dry summer months, the governor called for a fast. Soon afterward, rain revived the shriveled crops, and the Puritans celebrated.

The custom of marking good fortune with a day of gratitude quickly caught on throughout New England. In the early days of the United States, the new nation’s leaders began proclaiming country-wide thanksgiving celebrations. In the American Revolution, for example, the Continental Congress called for a day of thanksgiving to mark the U.S. victory at the Battle of Saratoga. Then in 1789, President George Washington called for a day of thanksgiving in recognition of the U.S. Constitution’s ratification.

Although its origins are traced back to that first thanksgiving in 1621, a number of other countries celebrate harvest related festivals. They are observed with different names and in different seasons. Harvest related festivals, all the over the world are characterized with fun and merrymaking, for the most part, celebrating communal harmony. Each region has its unique customs and traditions to jubilate the occasion. 

Canada celebrates thanksgiving on the second Monday in the month of October .The first Canadian thanksgiving was celebrated on 15th April 1872 to thank the recovery of King Edward VII from serious illness. The next thanksgiving was celebrated after a few years in 1879 on a Thursday. 
Canada later, had a turbulent time deciding the day of national Thanksgiving. It fluctuated between Mondays some years and Thursday in others. Finally, on January 31, 1957, Parliament announced the second Monday in the month of October as the official ‘Thanksgiving Day’. It was declared as “a day of general Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed.” The thanksgiving celebrations include parades, customary ‘family feast’ and ‘turkey’. It is a time for sharing, loving and family reunions. The central idea behind the celebration is to be thankful for the past harvest and praying for the coming year. 

 India also has a number of harvest related festivals in different regions. Though the underlying principle behind each of them is same, every festival is exclusive and different from the other.

Other Asian countries such as China, Malaysia, and Korea celebrate the festival on different dates. Each festival has a folklore attached to it. Harmony, peace, and feeling gratitude is the underlying theme of each celebration.
Many view the first Thanksgiving as an example of the possibility of great respect and cooperation between two different cultures.

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On that note, we here at Rossi1931 are extremely grateful that you take the time to read our blog and we extend a gracious thank you for your support. We couldn’t do what we do without you, your loyalty and your passion for paper.

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues”~Cicero

A Brief History of the Journal

What is a diary as a rule? A document useful to the person who keeps it. Dull to the contemporary who reads it and invaluable to the student, centuries afterwards, who treasures it.” 

Sir Walter Scott.

letterpress notebooks

Journaling is not a modern phenomenon; there are recordings traced back to 55AD China. During the Renaissance period, the Western world began journaling regularly and the diary, began to have some literary value as the importance of the individual began to come to the fore. Ladies of the court in tenth century Japan used pillow books to record their dreams and thoughts with images and poetry. Throughout history, travel logs were also used as journals in both the Eastern and Western worlds. They were used to record details of places, people, navigational insights, botanical and other information. Since then it has often been used by the historian, not only as a supply of factual information, but as a picture of the daily life and personality of its writer.

The most poignant records of recent years was the wartime diary of Anne Frank. Broadly translated, it is one of the most widely read pieces of literature in history. It was begun when Anne was 13, just before she and her family went into hiding from the Nazis in a small apartment annex in the city of Amsterdam, and ended shortly after her 15th birthday, when the Nazis raided their hideout. After the war, her father, Otto, the only survivor in the family, decided to publish his daughter’s heart-rending diary. 

Distinguished diaries have also come from literary figures, such as Virginia Woolf and Emerson, religious leaders like Pope John XXIII, statesmen: George Washington, Winston Churchill and Thomas Jefferson, and a host of nonpublic figures whose personal dramas have become historical classics. But diaries should not be seen solely as literature; as Henry David Thoreau once said, ”the journal is a record of experience and growth, not a preserve of things well done or said.” In studying the lives of great men, one might notice a common trait: they were all consistent journal writers. If it weren’t for their journals, we probably wouldn’t know much about their great lives and deeds.

In the 1960’s the idea of journaling really came into play, when an American psychotherapist, best known for his development of the Intensive Journal Method, began offering workshops and classes in a method  using reflective writing as therapy with the ultimate goal of psychological healing. It is believed that by recording and describing the significant issues in one’s life, one can better understand these issues and eventually diagnose problems that stem from them. Today that method has been taught to over 250,000 people.

Journal therapy has been used effectively for grief and loss; coping with life-threatening or chronic illness, repairing troubled marriages and family relationships; increasing communication skills; developing healthier self-esteem; getting a better perspective on life; and clarifying life goals.

Still, people journal for a variety of reasons; to record memories, to improve their writing, to develop self-discipline or help change bad habits, to reach new levels of self-discovery.  The reasons are endless, but overwhelmingly journaling gives people a space to develop their thoughts. The diary is, first and foremost, a psychological tool, an instrument for self-understanding. Those who recognize it as such look upon their journals as companions and confidants. Like a good therapist, the diary is the perfect listener.

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For information about the beautiful Italian journals available through Rossi 1931, visit www.rossi1931.com

5 Italian Stationery Ideas for Mother’s Day

Have you figured out your plan for Mother’s Day yet? It’s the day when we honor mothers for all that they do, and while brunch and flowers are always welcome, why not surprise Mom with a special gift this year?  Stationery, soaps, notepads, and pencils – all elegantly crafted in Italy—are just a few of the gift items that are available from Rossi retailers.

1. Moms are multi-taskers who need the proper tools to keep them organized.  That means lots of notepads and notebooks!  She’ll appreciate these handy, lightweight notepads, ideally sized for a purse or briefcase. The letterpress covers make them particularly beautiful and distinctive, and they come in lined and unlined paper.

notepads

2. Pen or pencil?  Letterpress pencils of course! These pencils are hand-wrapped with Rossi’s unique letterpress paper and available in 14 different designs.

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3. Letterpress is again the theme with lovely and practical Gift Soaps! Take your pick from 14 unique letterpress designs, elegantly wrapped in beautiful designed papers. These soaps have a delicate honey scent in a 8.75 oz. bar size. Other boxed soap sets are available.

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4. Boxed stationery sets come in a variety of patterns and designs. There are thank you notes, blank notes, and stationery in decorated cylinder boxes like those below, and also tin boxes (which can be reused and repurposed!)

rossi boxed stationery

5. Everyone needs erasers, and lots of them!  Large, smooth and shaped like river stones, these come meticulously wrapped in letterpress boxes.  All letterpress products are designed to coordinate with each other making it easy to assemble your one-of-kind Mother’s Day collection.

Rossi letterpress erasers

You’ll find more gift products on the Rossi website and in their comprehensive online catalogs. Better yet, visit any of Rossi’s retailers for more Mother’s Day gift ideas. You’ll definitely want to touch and feel these extraordinary stationery products!

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