Thanksgiving: Should We Be Thankful?

Thanksgiving: Should We Be Thankful?

Sirena Burgher, Bleu Print Staff

Why do we celebrate thanksgiving? Or, more so, why did we celebrate thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving, at anyone’s house I’ve ever been to, is a time when people get together to possibly say a prayer and eat massive amounts of food. Afterwards, people complain about how much food they have just eaten and chatter amongst themselves until it gets dark. The people leave, fat and somewhat happy, and the night is over. Or, in some cases, people will watch football or go shopping or do something else on this day that has nothing whatsoever to do with the day’s origins. This doesn’t seem like the kind of holiday that would warrant a mass celebration, let alone call for children to miss school. So why do we still celebrate it?

Once upon a time, in 1621 at Plymouth Rock, the Pilgrims and the Native Americans got together and had a feast. This is said to have shown the union between two groups of people becoming one and sharing the same land. But there is more to this story that no one seems to want to talk about. The peace on this land was very short lived, and after this three day meal, it was kept for only about ten years. That is until thousands of other settlers arrived. The new settlers pillaged, raped, spread terrible new illnesses, and basically slaughtered the Native Americans. Of course, this occurred after they were given set boundaries by the Pilgrims for what they could consider “their property,” even though they didn’t believe land was owned by anyone (for religious reasons), and were robbed of their own homes. Say whatever you want about Native Americans fighting back, it was nothing compared to the damage we did to them. However, this memorable, symbolic feast was declared an official holiday by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

Fast forward to now. The holiday, from what I’ve seen, has completely changed. Now it is supposedly more about eating turkey, talking about what you’re thankful for, and just general tacky decorations. However, none of this even exists anymore; the whole holiday is fading. Talking about what we are thankful for has gotten less and less prominent over time, usually only occurring in elementary school classrooms. I have also seen very few Thanksgiving decorations anywhere, most of them being now Christmas themed.

So, if the origins of Thanksgiving are actually pretty terrible, the entire idea of giving thanks is neglected, and no one actually puts up decorations, why does this holiday still existing? Well, for one thing, you get to eat a lot of good and not feel bad about it. Also, it’s an excuse to get out of school or work for a day. Why should we care about the fact that we are basically celebrating a holiday that represents the death of thousands of Native Americans when we get food or time off work?