Technically, World Gratitude Day isn’t a religious event. But its being held at a Unitarian-Universalist Church, which has such a broad theological portfolio that virtually anything can be seen as religious. And every major religious tradition -- and probably most of the minor ones -- consider gratitude a virtue.
Think of it as the flip side of Random Acts of Kindness.
The Celebration of Appreciation will be held Saturday Sept. 22 at 1 p.m. in the Undercroft Art Gallery of the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh , 605 Morewood Ave., Shadyside. It will include music, poetry and activities such as a thank you note-a-thon to express appreciation to others for their kindness. The music will include a performance by Life In Balance, which uses crystal bowls, synthesizers and world flutes to produce music intended to induce healing.
World Gratitude Day traces its roots to a 1965 Thanksgiving dinner at the East-West Center in Hawaii. It was promoted at the United Nations by Sri Chimnoy, who led an interfaith meditation group in its meditation room. Karen Litzinger, whose Litzinger Career Consulting is hosting the Pittsburgh event, decided to bring a celebration to Pittsburgh after she wrote a thank you note to one of her former high school teachers. The teacher received the note when he was on the verge of retirement and had been questioning whether he had made an impact on any of his students.
“Gratitude is a big part of my personal and professional life. As a career counselor and business etiquette trainer, I am always encouraging people to write thank you notes,” she said.
The event is free, but people will be encouraged to donate tot he Greater Pittsburgh Literacy Council, which tutors 14,000 local adults annually in GED preparation, English as a Second Language, writing, math and computer skills.