This was the last piece of apple oatmeal pie. I washed it down with a cup of Ethiopian Harrar, brewed in the French press. I love the smell of freshly ground coffee beans. Im thankful for coffee. We hosted thanksgiving this year. Not all our family could make it to our home but I’m thankful that we were able to host again. We of course we had too much food and I’ll be eating turkey sandwiches for the rest of the week. I’m thankful for apple pie. I’m thankful for insulin.
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I was not born or raised in the United States (USA). Like many people, including my wife and her family, I’m an immigrant. I’ve lived in the USA since I was eighteen years old, coming here in the 80s to get a college education. I love my new country — my wife and became naturalised citizens in the early 90s — and one of my favourite holidays is Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a holiday all Americans, natural born or not can celebrate regardless of religion or politics.
My wife and her family came to the USA in 1974, and when I found out that they had never hosted or attended Thanksgiving, I was determined that that must change. So the year we were married I started a new family tradition. Thanksgiving at our home. After as immigrants, I think we had a lot to be thankful for.
This year, Thanksgiving was special. My brother-in-law was to be married, and as Hindu tradition has it, the groom has a particular day, the Grah Shanti, on which his body and person is prepared for his wedding. This was also an opportunity for the women — on both the groom and bridal party — to get their hands and feet decorated in mehndi.
So, this Thanksgiving, although we did not have turkey, and stuffing, and my sister-in-law wonderfully creamy mashed potatoes, we were still together, taking part in family traditions and finding much to be thankful for.
Obviously there is a lot more to the story of Indian/Puritan relations in New England than in the thanksgiving stories we heard as children. Our contemporary mix of myth and history about the “First” Thanksgiving at Plymouth developed in the 1890s and early 1900s. Our country was desperately trying to pull together its many diverse peoples into a common national identity. To many writers and educators at the end of the last century and the beginning of this one, this also meant having a common national history. This was the era of the “melting pot” theory of social progress, and public education was a major tool for social unity. It was with this in mind that the federal government declared the last Thursday in November as the legal holiday of Thanksgiving in 1898.
In consequence, what started as an inspirational bit of New England folklore, soon grew into the full-fledged American Thanksgiving we now know. It emerged complete with stereotyped Indians and stereotyped Whites, incomplete history, and a mythical significance as our “First Thanksgiving.” But was it really our FIRST American Thanksgiving?
TEACHING ABOUT THANKSGIVING – Native American Culture