We recently celebrated Thanksgiving in the U.S. – giving thanks for our blessings. Our tradition has been a family gathering for a big dinner. The occasion also is taken by some groups to provide turkey dinners or meal provisions to those who might otherwise do without.
We’re commemorating what most of us learned from the time we were children – that our Pilgrim ancestors and the Native American Indians shared food each harvested that fall symbolizing peace and harmony.
The Pilgrims and the Indian tribe actually had a three-day celebration with the signing of a mutually supportive treaty. Gradually, the over-simplified folklore we knew has been giving way to a much more complicated reality best appreciated by reading the only two brief Pilgrim contemporary accounts HERE – one of which wasn’t written until about twenty years after the fact.
Understanding more about the circumstances preceding this celebratory event and the Pilgrims subsequent relations with all Native American Indian tribes does have a significant bearing on the story we’ve come to know. Appreciating the perspective of both groups is important.
“Thanksgiving to the Native American Indians may not mean the same thing that it did to the white settlers in American History” as described at Indians.org HERE.
National Geographic reveals a pertinent Native American Indian succinct historical perspective HERE.
Take a look at those links abbreviated content, then consider the following.
Our nearest northern neighbor, Canada, celebrates Thanksgiving, too, but in October. They began celebrating this holiday long before we did in the U.S. for reasons different than ours in 8 ways which you can read about HERE.
Especially interesting to me was learning Canada celebrates their holiday in October, so they apparently don’t experience the aggravating time crunch with commercial overlaps as we do with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S. has seemed to have become increasingly commercially corrupted into one gross sales pitch compared to when I was a child which has annoyed me more and more every year. We celebrated Halloween the end of October which occurred primarily just one evening – an activity mostly for children. This day has become exploited commercially, gradually drawing in more and more adults to celebrate with greeting cards and costumed parties.
We had a respite from commercial promotions for a few weeks those years ago, then looked forward to Thanksgiving – a welcomed day that could occupy our full attention. The next day signaled business to begin their special lightings, displays and advertising for Christmas. I recall as a child thinking the time from then until Christmas Day was interminable.
All this has changed in succeeding years with what I consider an abhorrent commercialization that is drawn out -- sometimes starting even before Halloween, but definitely before Thanksgiving. In fact, retailers now keep ridiculous shopping hours, people line up to shop these stores at all sorts of hours, often mauling each other in the process when the doors open. Children must be numb from anticipation by the time Christmas arrives.
No doubt the competition between brick and mortar stores with the 24/7 shopping accessibility of the Internet world accounts for some of this madness. I don’t see this commercialization compressing holidays changing any time soon as long as people succumb to the advertising lures. My only choice is simply to ignore it all which I have been doing as best I can.
But perhaps there is one change that could be made in connection to the Thanksgiving/Christmas commercial overlap time squeeze. Consider that history indicates the very Pilgrim/Indian dinner we are supposedly commemorating on Thanksgiving may well have actually occurred in October.
Maybe we should consider changing our Thanksgiving to the third or fourth Thursday of October. What do you think? Does our culture’s commercialization bother you?