If you have been reading this blog often you probably wonder if there is any holiday I like. In truth, there are very few. One of the ones I don’t care for anymore is Thanksgiving. When I first came to the US I loved the idea that families came together to share a meal. That was a holiday I could get into since we have so many like that in Korea. Then I learned the ugly history behind it.
History shows that there was truly a feast shared by settlers and Native Indigenous Americans. That’s about where the truth ends. So much of what happened has been romanticized and twisted to fit the Hallmark idea of what Thanksgiving is. It makes me sad to think of Native people being murdered and brutalized in the name of expansion and conquering. Yes, I know it happened all over the world and we would not be here if not for it. But it does not make it RIGHT. It also seems to be a very hypocritical thing for a group of people to do when they too were escaping religious persecution and unfair debt and imprisonment.
Many Native Americans observe Thanksgiving as a day of mourning. I have chosen to mark the holiday as a day of gathering with my immediate family and being thankful for what we have. Personally I also use it as a day to be thankful for the Native Americans who have persisted in saving what they can of their heritage. My hope is that someday they will get back some of the land they were swindled out of. Our country is only 245 years old and we have a lot of atonement to do for the displacement of Indigenous peoples, slavery, treatment of women and people who are deemed “different” from the norm.
I am not saying we should eradicate this or any other holiday. I am saying, let’s look at everything with open eyes and not be afraid to realize that some of our traditions may not have the best intentions behind it. Why not CHANGE them for the better for your family?
Celebrate Thanksgiving and praise God if you are Christian. If you are not, use it as a time to stop and be thankful for how your family became stronger during strife and happy times. I say don’t condemn others for wanting to change. Stop forcing your family members to travel on these days when they are busy. How about just planning ANY day as a day for your whole family to come together but do it when the flights are cheaper and there are no pressures to dress or act in a certain way? If you truly mean it – if it is because you want the family to be together and not because TV says the way to prove you are a happy family is to force them to wait until 2pm to eat a huge meal and sit with people who had to fly or drive for hours and now have to sleep in uncomfortable beds or pay ridiculsous inflated prices for hotel rooms that are beyond capacity. No family? Then enjoy the day alone or with friends and know that you don’t have to have a huge family to be happy.
Stop fighting over whether the mashed potatoes should be lumpy or smooth or if the stuffing should go inside or outside the turkey. Stop and think about what this holiday and all holidays truly mean for you and if someone in your family does not feel comfortable about celebrating a day of genocide then respect that and have a family reunion that is not tied to any holiday created by goodness knows who.
Isn’t it time to just love each other just the way we are? I am thankful I have this platform to speak my mind. Thanks for reading.