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  • Writer's pictureCGEST Staff

Thanksgiving Day

By Tejal Tripathi

Several gourds of varies colors, shapes, and sizes sits before a stack of hay bales.
Photo by Joseph Gonzalez

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, with Thanksgiving 2022 taking place on November 24, 2022. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held every November. Lincoln had set the date for Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November, which was later changed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 to the fourth Thursday of November.


The Sunday after Thanksgiving is always the busiest travel day of the year in the United States. This is because Thanksgiving is all about “going home” and spending time with family. The sentiment behind celebrating Thanksgiving includes the need to connect with loved ones, which is celebrated in the form of feasting, prayers, expressing gratitude, and recreation. The traditional Thanksgiving meal includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.


There has been a recent introduction of “Friendsgiving,” an event derived from Thanksgiving. Friendsgiving is the celebration of Thanksgiving but with close friends in place of family. Friendsgiving was introduced in the early 2000s, and is an informal version of Thanksgiving where the rituals and celebration depend on the host and their friends. Friendsgiving has been an opportunity for those individuals living away from home to feel a sense of community and be able to celebrate this significant festival away from their family.


While Thanksgiving is a day of celebration for many, Indigenous people spend Thanksgiving as a day for mourning for their ancestors. Organized by the United American Indians of New England, a protest signifying the National Day of Mourning takes place every year in Plymouth on the same day as Thanksgiving. On this day, people gather around the statue of Massasoit, the Wampanoag Sachem who signed a peace treaty with the pilgrims. The organizers consider the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day as a reminder of the genocide and continued suffering of the Native American people.


References:

History.com Editors. “Thanksgiving 2022.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 27 Oct. 2009, https://www.history.com/topics/thanksgiving/history-of-thanksgiving.


“What the History of Thanksgiving and the Meaning of Family Have in Common.” The Real McCoys, 23 Nov. 2017, https://mymccoys.com/history-thanksgiving-meaning-family-common/.


Bahn, Micaela. “Hosting a Friendsgiving? Here's What to Know about the Tradition.” The Pioneer Woman, The Pioneer Woman, 4 Aug. 2022, https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/holidays-celebrations/a40656313/what-is-friendsgiving/.


Society, National Geographic. “Recognizing Native American Perspectives: Thanksgiving and the National Day of Mourning.” National Geographic Society, 1 Feb. 2016, www.nationalgeographic.org/activity/recognizing-native-american-perspectives-thanksgiving-and-national-day-mourning/.


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