Today is a day where American families come together from across the country to eat copious amounts of homemade food, booze and maybe turn on a football game. Thanksgiving is a tradition in American culture that a lot of us take apart in. From the outside some might see it as a way to gorge oneself with a cornucopia of food. The butterball on the table and the pigskin on the tube is not the point of Thanksgiving though. It is easy for us to get lost in all that food, booze, and family but in reality it is a time to step back and give thanks to the things we have. We find it important to remind ourselves that we should be grateful for our family, friends, and the food in our stomach and the roof over our heads. It is also a time to give and help the people who might not have the same opportunities. Food drives, and soup kitchens open up across country were meals are given to the less fortunate.
Thanksgiving is an important tradition for all us here in the United States and we all celebrate it a little different but we all have the same idea and that is the idea of being grateful and giving a little back to the community. I believe one should be grateful everyday that your eyes are open, but the holiday is a way to remind us to continue to appreciate the blessings bestowed upon us. People get caught up in everyday life and we can get stuck in the muck of all the things going on. So it is nice to have a day to remind us of what we have and how lucky we are to have it whether it’s big or small.
Thanksgiving traditionally was a way for the pilgrims to give thanks for a bountiful harvest and the agricultural year, hence the idea of having a table full of food. Tradition is important and I take tradition seriously. One of the many reasons why I travel is to learn about other culture’s traditions and if possible take part in them. So what are some of the traditions for Americans during Thanksgiving? It is a big family event and my family would all come together from all around the country to celebrate together. My favorite was when it was held at my house. I am bias towards my dads cooking and his food plus we lived on the beach and in November the weather was still nice. My dad would spend a few days before Thanksgiving preparing for an all day cooking session on that final Thursday of November.
When I was young I would make sure I was up early so I could watch my dad make pies. He would make more pies than I could remember and there was plenty of variety. The traditional pie of Thanksgiving is pumpkin and probably my family’s favorite. He would make more pumpkin then any other pie. My favorite was butterscotch because I got to lick the bowl and spoon afterwards. Some of his other pies would be lemon meringue, pecan, rhubarb, apple, and he would make multiple of each. He always told us that a pie is all in the crust and that you should learn how to make crust from scratch. I would have to say pie is my favorite part of Thanksgiving.
Football is a classic event during Thanksgiving and it is always part of my family’s tradition. Traditionally two teams host the game the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. Each team host a different conference team every year on a rotating basis. There is also third game which had no set teams. Now football was always on but it was a way to gather together. It really acted as background noise as we drank beer, cocktails, wine, and, if you were a kid, soda.
We ate all day as my dad would deliver out little snacks and my mom always made sure that everybody had enough to munch on throughout the day. Now if you are a kid it is not always fun and games. If you wanted to lick the spoon from the pie fillings you had to learn how to shuck corn. Shucking corn was something that everybody in my family knew how to do.
Dinner on Thanksgiving is not at normal dinnertime for Americans. We tend to hold dinner in the early afternoon. Three pm is the normal time for the meal to start and it last all day or as long as you could go before you fall asleep. If you are Ashley, they eat the meal at a normal time but we all have our own tweaks. We all sat around the dining room table with a pop up table for the kid’s table with the food set up family style. Some years we would have too many people over and have a buffet instead and just crowd around the living room. One important tradition before we dug in was to say grace over the food and then go around the table saying what we were thankful for. After that it was time to dive on in. Now for my family what was traditionally served was a giant turkey, stuffing, spinach, yams with a marshmallow top, mounds of buttered mash potatoes with gravy, cranberry sauce, collard greens, roasted corn, and scallop potatoes. Throughout the meal the wine is flowing because what is a good meal with out a lot of vino? Oh and don’t forget the pie afterward and the homemade whip cream with a little spiced rum in it. Now I am sure I missing some classics and my family will surely let me know what I forgot. All families have tweaked their dinner to fit their taste.
Now this was my family’s tradition; food, family and drink have always been important to us, it is what brings us all together. I know other families play an actual game of touch football or not cook a meal at all and go out and eat Chinese which are usually the only places still open. Other families spend the day at a soup kitchen and pass out meals to the less fortunate; others go on vacation instead. No matter what Americans do for their Thanksgiving it all centers around the idea that we need to give thanks and remind ourselves to be thankful for everything we are blessed with. I wish all of our readers a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope you all get to spend it with the ones you love.
Ashley and I have decided to start a new tradition feature. We want to highlight your cultures traditions. If you are interested in writing a guest post for our new tradition features please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to hear from you and love to have you teach us about your traditions.