Thanksgiving is no longer an Anglo-American tradition

In 2018 America, Thanksgiving has traveled a long way from it’s original meaning and symbols. 

The turkey, representative of the colonists truce with the Native Americans in the first Thanksgiving is obsolete in many parts of the country. In our own city, no self-respecting Cuban would choose turkey over “lechon,” a form of pork, usually served with fried yuca and “congri” – a rice with black beans. 

Argentines use the holiday to make an asado with “provoleta,” “morcilla” and “vacio.”   

Haitians feast on a special macaroni and cheese and rice and beans called “Makawoni au Graten.”

All of this points to an unstoppable trend: the way in which people celebrate Thanksgiving is no longer confined to traditional Anglo-American gastronomy.

But the images associated with the holiday are still overwhelmingly based on things like the turkey, and the age-old American pie. 

U.S. presidents even have a tradition of pardoning a turkey every year – a practice that dates back to George Washington.

Perhaps a more inclusive portrait of the holiday would consist of Trump pardoning a turkey as well as a pig; that way poor Wilbur won’t have to go through all that trouble.

Any analysis of the evolution of Thanksgiving must necessarily focus on food; since  food is the ritual through which gratitude; the point of Thanksgiving, is expressed.

But since the feast is the means to an end, and not the end itself; it shouldn’t be considered Un-American to change the furnishing of the tradition, so long as its spirit remains intact.

If one is grateful for all of life’s blessings, it doesn’t matter whether one is eating turkey, pizza or frozen zucchinis: the reflective exercise of Thanksgiving has been carried out.

Accepting this wouldn’t even be the first expansion the American people have bestowed on Thanksgiving as an idea.

Although it’s now a secular, civic holiday, Thanksgiving’s roots are religious in nature; dating back to fifteenth century English Harvest festivals.

One can still celebrate Thanksgiving religiously; but we now agree that it’s not the only way to do so. And something like an event’s spiritual origins are a far more important consideration than the food we eat when celebrating it.

As such, we should be open to the diversification of Thanksgiving, analogous to that of the United States, so long as – like the country – its essence reimains untouched.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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