Celebrate Thanksgiving to appreciate loved ones
Fall. The season where you either are preparing for Halloween or you are thrust into Christmas’ Winter Wonderland. However, there is one holiday that is often overlooked in the frenzy: Thanksgiving. This holiday, despite its rocky past, should still be celebrated and relevant in today’s society.
A simple reason why this holiday shouldn’t be overlooked is because of the message behind it; we should be appreciative of the things and people in our lives. Unlike other holidays, Thanksgiving focuses primarily on the little things and joys of our lives that haven’t been brought to attention or were overlooked before.
While having gratitude is the main message, it’s also about who you spend your time with. Whether it be friends or family, Thanksgiving is a holiday where people come together to value each other and appreciate who they have in their lives and the time that they have. Even though you can argue that this can happen on any other holiday, Thanksgiving is a holiday where appreciation for the people you care about isn’t being taken away through distractions such as gifts or costumes.
Another reason (let’s be honest) is the food. While some holidays have feasts such as Christmas and Easter, Thanksgiving has food unique to its celebration that others might not have. The standard turkey, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, and gravy are just a few of the traditional foods associated with Thanksgiving that make the holiday all the more worthwhile.
If you are on more of the traditional side of things, then there are plenty of traditions you can practice during this holiday. Such traditions include breaking the turkey wishbone for good luck, pinning a feather on the turkey, or even coming up with traditions unique to your family. However, what you want to celebrate is up to you and you’ll make memories while you’re at it.
Thanksgiving is also an inclusive holiday. This means anyone, regardless of religious background, could participate in celebrating this holiday. While Christmas and Easter have religious meanings behind them, Thanksgiving isn’t centered around religious beliefs or events.
On the other hand, some people believe that Thanksgiving shouldn’t be celebrated because of its history. The first Thanksgiving is commonly recognized to be the one in 1621 celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag. An alliance was created between the two because of trade and tribe rivalries along with the Wampanoag believing it could “fortify their strength”, according to National Geographic’s website.
What followed that first Thanksgiving was anything but peaceful. Tensions were high between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag and by 1637, peace took a drastic turn and became a very long war that featured the colonists massacring local tribes including the Wampanoag.
Even though this history did set the holiday off on a bad first impression, you have to keep in mind that this happened over four hundred years ago. Meaning, we have overcome so much in that time span in America, ranging from gaining our independence from England to having women gain the right to vote and enter the workforce. While it is important to acknowledge the faults of our ancestors, it is also important to know that as a modern society, we create our own meaning for a holiday and that is what makes it worthwhile, not what happened in the past.
Though Thanksgiving is commonly neglected, it is a meaningful holiday that brings people together. Whether we celebrate it alone or with friends and family, we can still value the overall message we gave the holiday over the years: be thankful because you must be appreciative of the time you have left with the people you love.