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The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Grizzly Gazette

The Evolution of Thanksgiving

We have all heard the story of the first Thanksgiving in 1612 when the Wampanoag tribe joined the English people to celebrate a successful harvest. This commemoration has evolved over 400 years and has become what we know as Thanksgiving today.

Before the 20 century, Thanksgiving was a bustling day when town populations would come together to throw celebrations with carnival games and parades.  

When the First World War took the US by storm, the way we celebrated drastically changed. The event became more intimate as households chose to spend the day with close family members.

This change in commemoration was also when the holiday became engulfed in capitalism and prejudice. The day became less about quality time and more about flaunting money and status. At the heart of this conundrum were the American nuclear families.

A “nuclear family” was a term used to describe a predominately White ménage consisting of a breadwinner husband, a beautiful housewife, and stellar children. These picture-perfect families personified the American Dream and completely redefined Thanksgiving, tarnishing the holiday’s uniqueness.

Oppression consumed the day, and families stripped themselves of their cultures and traditions, attempting to conform to the new norms. Unique cultural food from around the world shifted into the typical Eurocentric meals to evade scathing judgments.

It would take a long time for prejudice surrounding the celebration of Thanksgiving to die down.

Ironically, no matter how hard these households tried to suppress their culture and have the “perfect Thanksgiving”, their attempts always failed. This negligence is because of the unattainable, picturesque Thanksgiving desired by so many.

The holiday is subjective, and perfection does not exist in the context. There is no rule book or correct way to celebrate Thanksgiving.  

The festivity is unique because it differs from other widely celebrated holidays. No household has ever observed the holiday in the same manner.

Every brood that keeps this momentous day puts a unique twist on it, sometimes unknowingly. Hundreds of years of traditions passed down and birthed the most fruitful day in America.

The 21 century has seen an unapologetic explosion of culture and individuality surrounding Thanksgiving festivities. The desire to have a picture-perfect all-American gathering has faded into the background.

The day now encapsulates so much more than food and family. Newer generations have popularized “Friendsgiving”, which has swept the nation in the past decade.

The snappy phrase originated in 2008 when a massive drop in the economy left many unable to purchase plane tickets to visit their families. As a last resort, many turned to their close companions and enjoyed a different celebration. These gatherings have stuck around throughout the years, even becoming a tradition for many.

Thanksgiving has no boundaries and allows families from all over to unite. The holiday has brought people of different races, ethnicities, and religions to join, meshing countless cultures together.

This melting pot of human celebration makes Thanksgiving an incredible holiday, which is why we still celebrate the special day over 400 years since the first feast.

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