Cultural Importance of Thanksgiving paper

Cultural Importance of Thanksgiving paper - Mullikin 1...

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Mullikin 1 ‘Thanksgiving, After All, Is a Word of Action’ - W.J. Cameron As I sat around the table over Thanksgiving break, I was swept up in thought about what Thanksgiving really meant. Was it really about preparing an overabundance of caloric dishes that would leave a superfluity amount of leftovers which we would all be subject to eat for days to come? Or was Thanksgiving really about thankfulness? After all, it is called Thanksgiving , but what’s in a name? Unfortunately, even after my deep philosophical questioning of the meaning of Thanksgiving, I could not provide any answers to my questions. John F. Kennedy once said, “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them,” when referencing Thanksgiving. Ideally speaking, I would like to say that Thanksgiving is about being grateful and a time for family togetherness, but ideally speaking does not always equal truth. America has commercialization of Thanksgiving has turned it into something more reminiscent of the cartoon pictured on the previous 1 . For most American’s thanksgiving is more about stress than giving thanks. Although Thanksgiving Day may not live up to John F. Kennedy’s ideological thoughts towards the holiday, Thanksgiving is a part of every American’s past, present, and future and has made a notable impact of the lives of all who celebrate it. 1 Lester, Mike. "Turkey Day." Cartoon. Rome News Tribune . 1 Dec. 2007 <>.
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Mullikin 2 While every American has their own memories concerning Thanksgiving, many are completely clueless as to the origin of the holiday. To truly understand the cultural importance of Thanksgiving, one must first understand the history behind it. The first Thanksgiving is believed to have occurred in 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians took part in a communal dinner 2 . The feast spoke of is not the true origination of the holiday, being that it was not repeated and henceforth not a tradition. The Pilgrims did not refer to the feast as Thanksgiving, which was actually a religious holiday for them. The First Thanksgiving did not occur on a Thursday; rather, it was a three day celebration that likely occurred in September. Abraham Lincoln is actually responsible for the set tradition of Thanksgiving, in 1863 Lincoln officially declared the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving. It is noted that, “Although this feast is considered by many to the very first Thanksgiving celebration, it was actually in keeping with a long tradition of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.” 3 2 Women and Children . Plymouth, Massachusetts. History Channel . Plimouth Plantation, Inc. 1 Dec. 2007
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course ANTH 212 taught by Professor Simmons during the Fall '07 term at South Carolina.

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Cultural Importance of Thanksgiving paper - Mullikin 1...

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