Unique Thanksgiving Traditions


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The fourth Thursday of November. Or as most Americans know it: Thanksgiving Day. A day regarded as a time when the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people shared a feast to celebrate the fall harvest in 1621. But, like how it is with many holidays, traditions and the way we celebrate them change more and more with each year. In the 1700s, people carved turnips as lanterns for Halloween. And before the 1830s, Easter was solely a pious and austere occasion. But what are the new and unique ways people celebrate Thanksgiving? I asked a few fellow sophomores at Boro how they choose to celebrate this 400-year-old holiday to find out.

One individual I met with stated, “I really, don’t do anything for Thanksgiving, I just like to sleep, eat leftover Halloween candy, and maybe have some iced tea- I love iced tea”. Seeing her unique tradition opened my eyes to a side of the country that doesn’t do much at all for Thanksgiving. It’s okay to not go all out with an enormous feast or meet with the entire extended family to celebrate. Sometimes all you really need to do to appreciate what you’re thankful for is to eat and do things that you enjoy.

I then chose to question my associate in the culinary program, Samantha Page, about what unique perspective she gave on the holiday, “I switch between my family’s houses, every Thanksgiving. And we make a massive amount of desserts. Sometimes too many desserts to be honest!” When I asked what kinds of desserts she makes she replied, “Pies, cookies, all from scratch”. Sam showed me that a big part of her Thanksgiving traditions is gathering together to bake delicious desserts. Something that appears so simple, but I could tell holds a great level of meaning in her family. Doing things we love like, cooking or baking, is a great way to bring people closer. 

“I forget that Thanksgiving exists most of the time, all I know is that my grandma was born sometime around Thanksgiving.” Another individual I spoke with brought to my attention the thought that Thanksgiving isn’t something that families take part in. For instance, why does one even celebrate Thanksgiving? It’s supposed to be a day to remind everyone to be thankful for all the good things in their life. But honestly, shouldn’t we be thankful and appreciative of the blessings we have every day of the year?

“Well, you see, mostly what happens is, I have family all across Europe, so we get like the Italian auntie, and y’know, Spanish auntie, and then French auntie. And they all just come into the same room, and they start yelling at each other in their respective languages but because it’s Europe and they all kinda speak each other’s languages, it’s like a weird little Spanglish situation but like in like a SpangItalianCh way. You should come one time it’s great,” Heleina Pace, a fellow MedSci sophomore, indulged me in the yearly gatherings of her family for Thanksgiving. But her family in particular offers a unique lens into the American holiday as her family comes from many different places and backgrounds. Yet, they all come together and are united by their differences. Sure, they argue and bicker, but what family doesn’t? Heleina’s special Thanksgiving tradition proves that sometimes its our individualities that are enough to unify us.

Everyone I’ve gotten the pleasure of speaking with has truly shown me different ways of seeing Thanksgiving. Before, I simply regarded Thanksgiving as a time to stuff my face and see a couple of family members every once and a while. As that was just how we did Thanksgiving every year. But now I see that there really is no one way to celebrate Thanksgiving. People celebrate it in their own unique ways, and some don’t really celebrate it at all. One thing we all should agree on is that taking time to come together and give thanks is very important and really makes us appreciate the great things in our lives.