How Do You Celebrate Thanksgiving?

By Lauren Cooney, Kristey Mascaro and Erika Zaborny

The holiday of Thanksgiving is celebrated throughout the world; however how people celebrate Thanksgiving can be very different. Thanksgiving to most Americans means sitting around a table giving thanks for all of life’s blessings while enjoying a hearty meal with family and friends. To many, Thanksgiving means Turkey, Stuffing, Football, and watching the annual Macy’s Parade. We researched the top five Thanksgiving traditions, and asked Bloomsburg students what Thanksgiving entails for them and the different ways they celebrate this holiday.

One Thanksgiving tradition includes, the "wishbone," courtesy of http://www.best-norman-rockwell-art.com
One Thanksgiving tradition includes, the "wishbone," courtesy of http://www.best-norman-rockwell-art.com
The top Thanksgiving holiday tradition was the turkey meal. Why do most people eat turkey on Thanksgiving? The tradition of eating turkey on Thanksgiving can be traced back to the Pilgrims and the Indians. It is believed the Native Americans introduced the large turkey bird to the Pilgrims because it was a meal that brought them together and it was large enough to feed more than one family. There are many other popular dishes along with the turkey; many include ham, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, and of course pumpkin pie.

Druann Welsh a junior at Bloomsburg shared a story with us about her Thanksgiving last year, “My boyfriend’s family always passes a loaf of bread around and keeps it until prayer at dinner. Then they go around the table saying what they are thankful for and eat their bread. But I didn’t know that. So I ate my bread right away.”

For many American families football has become a large part of Thanksgiving.  NFL Football on Thanksgiving Day has been a regular event since the league began in 1920. Many people watch the NFL Football games, go to the games, and even play in football games themselves with their family and friends. Football is one of America’s greatest past-times, whether you are watching or playing it. It has been a way for families to come together and enjoy the sport of Football with their families on Thanksgiving Day.

The Macy's Pararde, photo courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org
The Macy's Pararde, photo courtesy of http://upload.wikimedia.org

Every Thanksgiving Macy’s holds its annual Thanksgiving Day Parade held in New York City beginning at 9am and usually lasts around three hours. Macy’s has been having its parade since 1924, this year they will hold their 83rd annual parade. In 1924 many of the Macy’s employees were first-generation immigrants; and wanted to celebrate their newly American heritage by having a parade. Today, many families enjoy watching the parade full of character floats, balloons, and their favorite performers. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has become a favorite holiday tradition that many families still enjoy.

Another tradition that many families participate in is making a wish on the wishbone from the turkey. The way most people play the wishbone activity is two people tug on each ends of the wishbone and whoever is left with the bigger end gets to make a wish. The wishbone is attached to the breast meat of the Turkey; you must allow the bone to dry in order to become brittle before tugging it.

However, after interviewing one student Lauren Boyko she told us how her family plays the wishbone tradition a little bit differently. Lauren said every year her while cutting the meat off the turkey she sets the wishbone out to dry while they are eating. After everyone is finished the youngest and eldest member of her family both make a wish while breaking the wishbone; they place the wishbone pieces on top of the door until the next year comes and they do it again.

Finally, the most common and most important tradition of Thanksgiving, is giving thanks for all of the year’s blessings. A lot of families go around the dinner table and give thanks one at a time. Some families give thanks in other ways as well.

A family gives thanks at the holiday meal, courtesy of methodistthinker.files.wordpress.com
A family gives thanks at the holiday meal, courtesy of methodistthinker.files.wordpress.com

For instance, one BU student, Shaina Selner, told us after her family says grace before they eat, they each go around the dinner table sharing their favorite Thanksgiving memory. She said she mostly enjoys this because many of her aunts and uncles tell stories from before she was born, and she gets to hear how her parents were with their sibling when they were her age.

The Thanksgiving holiday has many special meanings to different families. For most people it is important to keep passing on you own holiday traditions to keep them in your family. Getting the family together for a big meal and giving thanks is very important to Bloomsburg students, and many other people. Happy Thanksgiving!

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