Thanksgiving (US) Holiday — The North Star Reports – by Lee Bongey. Sponsored by The College of St. Scholastica and The Middle Ground Journal
All throughout my childhood, my household typically celebrated a very small-scale Thanksgiving with just the immediate family, since the rest of our relatives live on the east coast. My immediate family is very close-knit to begin with, so this holiday isn’t really vastly different from our usual lifestyle, but Thanksgiving is still probably one of my favorite holidays.
For our Thanksgiving feast, my family prepares and eats all of the standard foods of this holiday, such as turkey, mashed potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, and cranberries. This year, my family and I speculated on how turkey came to be the primary Thanksgiving food. Supposedly, the tradition originated with the holiday itself and the pilgrims, but we discussed how the turkey feast was more likely popularized in the mid-1800s by Abraham Lincoln. Turkey was relatively affordable and easy to make yet made for a fancy meal that was large enough to serve many people, so turkey was a good meal that many could have for Thanksgiving. It is interesting to consider such a cultural food in a more functional way.
Thanksgiving is one of the rare holidays in my family where everyone is in good spirits, and we don’t have the typical miffs that are usually present in our normal daily interactions. While tasty food is certainly a valid reason for high spirits, I also think that the goodwill in my family on Thanksgiving is also largely due to a tradition that we have after we’ve eaten, which is also probably the main reason why I like this holiday so much. After we finish our feast, each member of my family will take turns going around the table, stopping at each person and saying why we’re thankful for him or her. Things that the family member has done that year which we’re proud of, or just general personality traits that we appreciate are mentioned during this little ritual. While it’s a little corny, I really love this tradition. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to articulate why we’re thankful for everyone, and it’s very sweet to hear why everyone is thankful for you.
This holiday is becoming more and more meaningful to me, especially since I left for college. Every year the realization that my family won’t always be together becomes stronger, so now I think that I am able to appreciate and enjoy the holiday and our traditions much more than I used to!
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Hong-Ming Liang, Ph.D., Chief Editor, The Middle Ground Journal, Associate Professor of History and Politics, The College of St. Scholastica, Duluth, MN, USA
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