Though the modern-day Thanksgiving consists of turkey, parades, and football, most Americans attribute the first Thanksgiving to the celebration of good harvest between the English Pilgrims and the Native Americans in 1621.
Despite this common misconception, the first Thanksgiving is likely to have predated that nearly half a century earlier in Florida when the Spanish took part in a communal meal with a neighboring tribe in 1565. Since then, Thanksgiving has blossomed into a variety of traditions encompassing a multitude of cultures all around.
“We all go to my cousin’s house and we all have a potluck and we bring different types of food, like turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, stuff like that. Then, we all just come together and eat together and have fun, because it’s like a little family reunion every year,” said junior Tasnim Ullah.
Food is especially important during this time of year, and some families may bring out recipes that they don’t use very often.
“There’s a couple dishes that we bake, that we don’t normally make any other time of year, so we make this one dish, manicotti; we use shells and ricotta cheese and put sauce over them. It’s really good, “ said junior Christine Love.
Thanksgiving also tends to serve as a time of fun and festivities with friends and family, including extended family whom many may not see for most of the year. Each family has their own unique traditions.
“All one million of my cousins come to my house for Thanksgiving and we go out to eat the night before Thanksgiving, we have fun, we have thanksgiving games. During thanksgiving we have a dance battle,” said junior Jemima Monga.
Even with all the enjoyment, Thanksgiving tends to hold a deeper meaning in many’s hearts. Though the holiday tends to generate gluttony, there is always the idea of gratitude and giving thanks, as the name itself states.
“You have to be grateful for what you already have because what you might have, some people don’t have that, so you kind of have to look at it on a different scale,” said Monga. “Some people can’t even celebrate Thanksgiving because they don’t even have food, but you do. They don’t even have people in their lives, but you do. Some people are in the hospital, but you’re home, you’re healthy.”
Such a sentiment inspired social studies teacher Teak Bassett to give back to the community by buying boxes of traditional Thanksgiving foods, such as turkey and various sides, to give to 30 CHS families, and 30 Rocky Hill Middle School families
“Every year the Ambassadors Club takes donations to raise money to give to families who are in need, who don’t have as much as they can and might need a little extra help with a thanksgiving meal,” said Bassett.
The money from the donations are collected from students and staff alike and go towards buying the meal boxes which are picked up and distributed at a later date, and the entire process feels is rewarding for Bassett.
“A lot of the money that we’re able to raise in donations came from students and teachers at Clarksburg High School. I think that they realized that, yes, Thanksgiving is about your own family, your own personal happiness, joy, but it’s also about helping others, and it’s a great thing that we’re able to help 60 families in our community that we may not know, but do need our help,” said Bassett.
To listen to a podcast about Thanksgiving, click here.