Revamping Thanksgiving

By Jenise Jackson
Blog Content Contributor

Over the years, you’ve probably noticed that the promotion of Christmas begins the day after Halloween. Christmas is December 25th, and we have people that celebrate the season as soon as the clock strikes midnight on November 1st. There is that holiday that occurs a whole month before Christmas though. We call that holiday Thanksgiving. So why do a lot of people avoid promoting this holiday? Maybe because there’s not much to celebrate.

When I was younger, I really only looked forward to Thanksgiving for the food. My family would tell me it was a day to be thankful for the blessings I had in life and then we would grub out. I never really had a solid understanding of how Thanksgiving even came to be. My early elementary school teachers would teach us students that the “First Thanksgiving” occurred in October 1621. 53 pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in the New World during a three-day celebration that was attended by a said 90 Native Americans. It was a festival supposedly filled with peace and giving thanks. But of course, some “good” things must come to an end.

As you probably know, many Native Americans are not very fond of the early pilgrims of this country and it is for understandable reasons. I mean when you think of the fact that there was a cultural genocide and conquest on Native Americans at the hands of colonists, it all makes sense. Like Columbus Day, Thanksgiving for some is seen as a “national day of mourning”. Everything wasn’t just “Let’s break bread and be friends.” as we were taught to believe.

But of course, this is the America where we have been expected to downplay the true historical context and celebrate a prettier version.

So looking at this, it might be a little bit more understandable as to why we skip immediately to Christmas celebration after Halloween. Now it may seem like I am trying to persuade you not to celebrate Thanksgiving, but that is actually not my intentions. Now that I am an adult, it is clear that I don’t appreciate the history behind the holiday at all. But that doesn’t change the fact that Thanksgiving is still a holiday and if that’s the case, you can try to make the best of it. It should be more than about good food and being thankful, especially since you should be thankful every day. Take the time to reflect on the history that made the holiday. Of course, you can’t repay Native Americans for the wrongdoings of colonists. But you can make a difference in your own way. Maybe it is by feeding the hungry, making amends with someone, or just by being kinder. However you decide to give back on Thanksgiving, we can consider it our way of revamping the holiday. And that gives us something more positive to celebrate.

Featured image via Pexels.com.

Asia Daggs

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