Tomorrow (November 24) is the popular Thanksgiving Day in USA. Observed on the fourth Thursday of November, it is a much awaited holiday. It also kind of sets off the holiday season of the winters that ends with the celebrations of New year.
Thanksgiving Day has its roots in settlers (pilgrims) in Plymouth celebrating a feast after the successful harvest that season. That was in 1621. But the Thanksgiving has continued and today it is an occasion to express thanks and gratitude to one’s own blessings to life and opportunities and one’s beliefs in general. Thus, rightly so, Thanksgiving Day is the occasion to give alms and do charity. This is the day for people to come together as families and count the blessings and celebrate the life together. Thanksgiving Dinner thus is considered a very special feast.
Thanksgiving and food go together. After all, supper is an occasion to meet, share and celebrate. Amongst all the food and beverages, Turkey is the unifying theme. Turkey is served on this day as a mark of Thanksgiving. How so ever painful it may sound, the stark reality is that Thanksgiving comes at the altar of turkeys. They are sacrificed so that we can celebrate thanksgiving. I read somewhere that 88 % Americans eat turkey on this day, according to a survey conducted by American Turkey Association. Looking at sheer numbers, 44 Million turkeys are ‘enjoyed’ on Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day stands to symbolize a very beautiful human sentiment: Thankfulness in general and gratitude in particular. That is why it so bothers me to see how such a humane expression is oblivious to the cruelty that carries along with!
Will we ever observe a Turkey-less Thanksgiving Day?
After all, when turkey can get a Presidential Pardon, why not a Public Pardon?
Thanksgiving Day. The name stands for itself as the day to give thanks and is celebrated as a national holiday in many countries like United States of America, Canada, Netherlands, Philippines, Grenada, Liberia while similarly named festival exists in Germany, Japan, and United Kingdom.
Thanksgiving holiday remains a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
The official date for the American Thanksgiving that exists today was set by President Roosevelt to be on the fourth Thursday in November instead of the last Thursday in November as decided by President Lincoln as thanksgiving date.
But their thanksgiving is surrounded by a debate over the nation’s first celebrations and the two places embroiled in this debate are New England and Virginia as both the places provide certain proofs of being the spot for nation’s first celebrations for Thanksgiving.
Canadian Thanksgiving tradition is celebrated in the true spirit of giving thanks at the close of the harvest season. It is believed that due to the geographical differences from the USA, Canada’s Thanksgiving arrives on the second Monday in October as that is the close of their harvest season.
But in countries like Liberia, Netherlands, and Grenada, it is not just a day to give thanks at the close of the harvest season.
In Liberia, Thanksgiving holiday is celebrated to mark the freedom from black slavery by the U.S.A. The Thanksgiving day’s date remains on the first Thursday of November and has been a tradition since 1820.
Netherlands celebrate thanksgiving to mark to commemorate the Pilgrims who had migrated and became residents of the city of Leiden and died at Pieterskerk. To commemorate the hospitality, the thanksgiving, a non-denominational Thanksgiving Day is celebrated as the same as American Thanksgiving Day’s morning.
But there are some countries like the Philippines where the tradition of Thanksgiving only arrived with the Americans due to it being an American colony in the early 20th century but the tradition of Thanksgiving there had seemed to die down.
The American Thanksgiving seems to dominate the Thanksgiving menu when it comes to this holiday. Their famous turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, pies, mashed potatoes, and yams are signature dishes related to this day.
Not only food, American Thanksgiving has also made Black Friday, an informal day following the Thanksgiving Day to mark the beginning of their country’s Christmas season sales and it has been in the history books since 1952 such that it has become a tradition of its own now.
Thanksgiving Day remains an occasion for many families to get back together and celebrate this holiday in the spirit of one while giving the rise to the excitement of upcoming Christmas also which remains barely a month away from Thanksgiving day.
Samridhi Nain is a student of Philosophy (Hons.) from University of Delhi.
Pittsburgh based organization ‘Hello Neighbor’ introduces migrants to welcoming American families
It is an initiative to build cultural bridge between two distinct cultures
Many migrant families have felt safer after going through the ‘Hello Neighbor’ process
Pittsburgh, August 11, 2017: ‘Hello Neighbor’ is an organization based in Pittsburgh that aims to build cultural bridges between migrants and Americans.
The initiative tries to integrate the migrants into the society through fruitful interaction and activities.
The Hello Neighbor is a not for profit organization, established in January 2017. The process is simple. It is a mentorship program. The migrant family is paired with a welcoming open minded American Families. Through fruitful interactions and meetings, the migrant family will have the opportunity to learn the American culture and get integrated into the society.
The American families (the Mentors) will receive support, education, and guidance to become refugee advocates.
Interactions include picnics, potluck dinner, cultural outings and more. The mentorship program is a four months program.
Sloane Davidson, the founder, is the woman behind the idea of connecting two different families. As she stated to sources at VOA, “It is important to remember that refugees are people who are forced to flee.” She said she wanted to do something so the families could come together and have “meaningful interactions.”
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394