It’s Sunday, which means tomorrow is Monday, which also means I’m back at Uni after having the best part of a week off for Thanksgiving. Often a contentious holiday given the historical blackmark of America’s unjust treatment of the Native American population, Thanksgiving in modern-day America is very-much removed from these connotations, whether for better or worse. Having myself been learning every week about the troubled history of, especially Californian, relations with Native Americans, I initially felt somewhat uneasy about indulging in food, drink and general leisure at the expense of those who were mistreated by others. Nevertheless, wanting to fully experience a true American Thanksgiving, it was impossible to turn down the invitation to my American flatmate’s family get-together.
Somewhat ironically, I know think Thanksgiving may be my favourite holiday. Whilst it lacks the more significant excitement of Christmas and exuberance (or so I’m told) of Independence Day, this in my eyes is a positive thing. The occasion seemed a lot more laid-back than other holidays; there was no panic about presents, everyone brought some item of food so no single family-member was too stressed about cooking. All in all, the pressure and tension that often surfaces when families come together for large holidays was seemingly non-existent. It seemed like simply a lovely excuse to catch up with family, meet new people and enjoy each other’s company. Added to this of course is the excellent food. Think Christmas dinner with added macaroni-cheese (very Americanized, but nonetheless delicious). I even got to try barbecued elk, which is significantly nicer than I could ever have imagined.
Americans take the holiday as an opportunity to let their family and friends know what they are thankful for. Thinking about this allowed me to truly realise how grateful I am for being able to spend a year abroad in such an amazing, new place. Ultimately, I loved Thanksgiving and I definitely think I might have to keep the tradition of celebrating it when I return home to England. Whether UoL would be happy about me taking the last Thursday of November off from lectures to eat, drink and watch the NFL is another matter, but I’m sure the American Studies department will fight my case.
Happy Thanksgiving guys!