Students share holiday experiences

Every year on the fourth Thursday of November, the national holiday of Thanksgiving is celebrated by thousands of Americans. This tradition is traced to a harvest festival supposedly held between European settlers and the Wampanoag tribe in the early 17th century, but was only declared a national holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. In honor of Thanksgiving, Guilford College did not hold class from Thursday, Nov. 22 to Friday, Nov. 23 and some classes were also canceled Wednesday, Nov. 21.

“I think (my favorite part) is getting to see everybody because they’re often not in the same place at the same time,” said Assistant Professor of Mathematics Dani Moran. “They’re in town so I don’t get to see them infrequently but having everybody together is pretty nice.”

Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a time for family and friends to gather for a special meal. Some traditional Thanksgiving Day foods include turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and pies.

“My family cooks both ham and turkey,” said first-year Kylie Richardson. “We always have a family tradition where everyone cooks two or three dishes of their own to bring it together instead of one person cooking.”

Thanksgiving is a holiday typically filled with many unique traditions, which can vary from family to family. Some traditions can include family games, competitions, movies and more.

“My uncles like to play Hearts, which is a card game,” said first-year Aida Bell. “We play that a lot or we play Oh Hell, which is another card game.”

American football is one typical tradition associated with Thanksgiving. Both professional-level and college-level football teams play on Thanksgiving Day or the following weekend.

“The football game is always on, usually two of them because they have two different TVs at my aunt house,” said Moran. “I don’t generally watch sports except on Thanksgiving.”

Some international students have related their homelands’ holidays to Thanksgiving. Chuseok is a major three-day harvest festival in North Korea and South Korea that shares similarities to the American Thanksgiving.

“In Korea we have a similar (holiday),” said junior Sora Mullis. “It’s also a family gathering, and you eat a lot of food.”

However, Thanksgiving Day, as well as the following Black Friday, can still be a new concept for international students. Black Friday, often regarded as the traditional start of Christmas shopping, is a day when retailers offer special deals and reduced prices.

Some stores have begun to start their annual Black Friday sales the day before and remain open throughout the night. Even so, the promise of cheaper prices motivates some people to camp outside of stores to be one of the first to enter.

“It’s one (part of) the American culture that I will not really get used to” said Mullis. “To me, it’s interesting to see after the family gathering you have a massive discount going on. It’s kind of interesting to see how these two coexist.”

Thanksgiving has a unique meaning to everybody, which can include feasting, a longer weekend, football games, festivals and floats, family reunions or the precusor to winter holidays.

“To me, Thanksgiving is staying with family and getting together with people you don’t see as often,” said Richardson.