By Daniel Johnson-Kim, Editor in Chief
Forget Christmas, my birthday, Halloween, the Fourth of July or any other holiday. When it comes to my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving is king of the calendar.
The day is synonymous with pie, football, oversized parade balloons, family and can-shaped cranberry sauce, has held my top
spot and has been that way since before I could pronounce the word “turkey.”
With a dash of holiday food, a spoonful of football, a sprinkle of family and a cup of service, Thanksgiving has the perfect ingredients for a most enjoyable holiday.
Gifts are fun, free candy is tasty and fireworks appeal to my inner pyromaniac, but my love affair with Turkey Day – as far as I can remember – stretches all the way back to kindergarten.
Dressed in a black construction paper hat and shirt, my five-year-old self proudly donned the role of a pilgrim in my class’ recreation of the first Thanksgiving.
As I sat next to my fellow pilgrims and across the table from construction-paper Native Americans, our teacher explained that stuffing our faces with turkey and cheering for our favorite football team were not always the staples of the holiday. As she told me then, and I still remember now, the First Thanksgiving is believed to have happened in 1961 at Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts. Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a meal together to celebrate the autumn harvest.
Harvest celebrations already were a tradition to most Native American tribes, and the First Thanksgiving celebration was nothing unusual. According to www.history. com, ham, yams, stuffing and pie were not on the menu for the First Thanksgiving, instead the pilgrims and Native Americans probably feasted on cod, eel, lobster, wild turkey, goose, duck or even eagle.
It also would be hard to find a pilgrim who actually called the feast “Thanksgiving.” In fact, it is believed the meal was a one-time affair, and the pilgrims did not repeat it yearly. President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day proclamation in 1789 and issued it again in 1975.
Americans celebrated the holiday at different times, until President Abraham Lincoln made Turkey Day official, by issuing a proclamation on Oct. 3, 1863, making the last Thursday of November was set aside for Thanksgiving Day.
From Norman Rockwell to Charlie Brown, Thanksgiving has become a tradition filled with food and family, but the foundation of the holiday still rings true today: gratefulness.
We are grateful for the blessings we have and the lives of comfort the majority of Americans take for granted.
In addition to food and football, Thanksgiving should be a day devoted to service, thankfulness, family and unity. It is a convenient and clichŽ time to give back to your community. Donating food to a food bank, delivering Thanksgiving meals, inviting an international student over for dinner, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful but also give back.
This holiday, I will find a way to be thankful by serving but I’m also thankful for cranberry sauce. It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without the can-shaped jelly on the table.