Recognizing the past during Thanksgiving


Food, joy, generosity, family. These are just a few of the words that come to mind when thinking of Thanksgiving. They’re generally sentimental words that bring about warm images of your family and friends. They might remind you of that time your out-of-shape uncle sprained his pelvis because he went a little too hard in the annual backyard touch football game.

I believe Thanksgiving is one of the few truly good intentioned celebrations that America has left that has not been taken over by our societal hedonism. Thanksgiving is the time when we can be thankful for things that go unnoticed for most of the year. Thanksgiving is like a necessary opposite day for American values. We abandon consumerism for a few fleeting hours to reflect.

Thanksgiving has a specific sense of security and warmth that we feel in our stomachs both physically and metaphorically. Everyone knows the generally accepted story of Thanksgiving. In 1620, the Puritan pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans gathered together as communities and shared a in a grand feast while being grateful for what little they had.

In a historical context, this is the first time that the white people in North America began their long tradition of betraying any semblance of a mutually beneficial relationship. Just seventeen years later, the pilgrims sent troops to attack a Native American village.

In recent years, the public has slowly become more aware of the deeply problematic nature of Christopher Columbus. We as a nation are essentially celebrating a man that directly caused the ethnic cleansing of the Taino Natives.

However, while the holidays may be similar, they are not analogous. The modern meaning of the two are very different from each other. Columbus Day has almost no meaning aside from the celebration of a mass murderer, and seems to serve as an excuse for teenagers to miss a day of school.

On Thanksgiving, as I enjoy my own hefty serving of corn pudding, turkey and mashed potatoes, I think of how grateful I am to have a loving family and a great supportive group of friends. Thanksgiving in America has taken on a more contemporary meaning in our society.

Perhaps what helps emphasize Thanksgivings’ values is its proximity to the ever- approaching holiday season, which may well be the biggest completely contaminated holiday meaning. Before the all out spending extravaganza, society is given a little tip to be thankful for what we already have. Thanksgiving is a nice juxtaposition that stipends the madness of consumerism at this time of the year.

It is that special time of year when we can step back and appreciate that aunt whose food no one eats, but she still brings it every year anyway. Or that cousin who definitely stole your power ranger action figure when you were five, or the grandma who exclusively posts bible scripture and Minion memes. Thanksgiving is a space where people can bathe in the melting pot of goulash that your mom makes when there are only different kinds of leftovers still in the refrigerator.