This story was originally published in the third edition of The Lion’s Tale (December 9, 2020).
As the centuries have gone by, the world’s cultures have developed a variety of different holidays to honor events of religious, historical and agricultural significance, among other things. For example, in the United States we celebrate a diverse range of holidays, from Easter to Valentine’s Day to Martin Luther King Jr. Day. But what I want to discuss is how quickly we go from celebrating Halloween to Christmas. People become so excited about trick or treating and receiving presents that we tend to completely overlook Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving in the US can be traced back to the English tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving, which became prominent during the Protestant Reformation. Pilgrims and Puritans continued this practice when they immigrated to North America in the early 17th century, The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, when the colonists and Natives Americans shared a feast commemorating a good harvest, the arrival of the colonists and friendly relations between the two groups.
Religious and civic leaders began issuing Thanksgiving proclamations throughout the Massachusetts area in the following years, and the practice of holding an annual harvest festival had become common in New England by the 1660s. Today, Canada and American territories and former colonies celebrate Thanksgiving, and Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom celebrate similar holidays.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the past year and remember what you loved about it (which may be hard in 2020) and what you are thankful for, such as family and friends.
People skip from Halloween to Christmas so quickly that they just seem to forget the importance of looking back on the year and being thankful for what they have. Students and teachers get off of school to spend time with their families to enjoy each other’s company, which is a good time to do this.
Stores go from having Halloween decorations out for sale then immediately putting out Christmas decorations not even a day after. Personally, I think stores should wait at least for the week of Thanksgiving to arrive so people have time to be thankful without worrying about the next holiday. This would also give people time to relax.
Skipping this holiday obviously isn’t a serious offense, but it is disregarding something Americans have been taking the time to do for many generations. I understand that people are excited about gift giving and receiving, but it’s great to take part in this important tradition too.
As students we can be thankful for Thanksgiving itself since we get a week off of school. We have so many reasons to celebrate Thanksgiving.
While it was certainly more difficult this year, Thanksgiving shouldn’t be taken for granted. It is a time for us to appreciate what we have in front of us and to stop for just one day and rest and reflect.