Tenley Graves, Writer

“Thanksgiving, man. Not a good day to be my pants,” said Kevin James, comedian. Every year on the fourth Thursday of November, the people of the United States show their appreciation for the blessings and love that is spread throughout their year. Thanksgiving has been a national holiday since 1621. However, based on the first Thanksgiving, we are doing it all wrong.

Thanksgiving is a celebration in America. Traditionally, we serve a feast to give thanks. It is a time to gather with friends and family, watch the Thanksgiving Day parade, and fly to other states to visit family. This isn’t what Pilgrims did 400 years ago. They couldn’t watch tv, fly to see family or even use an oven to cook their food.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts, celebrating blessings, safe journeys, military victories, and abundant harvests. Americans often assumed that today’s Thanksgiving menu first-served turkey. However, according to TIME Magazine, this is inaccurate information concluding there is no proof of eating turkey. It states, “We had feasts that include dishes like cedar-braised rabbit, sunchokes with sumac, pine-stewed venison, true wild rice with foraged mushrooms, native squash with maple, smoked salmon, and wild teas.” Thanksgiving dinner has turned into a smorgasbord of all kinds of foods. “I have Turkey, mashed potatoes with gravy, and then my grandma and my cousins and I make homemade cinnamon rolls for dessert. I have this because it has always been my family’s tradition,” Franny Smith, eighth grade student, said. This is not anywhere near what the original pilgrims did! This false turkey tradition started with Benjamin Franklin, a known rebel. According to Britannica Encyclopedia, “Benjamin Franklin touted the turkey as a ‘respectable bird’ and a ‘true original native of America.’”  Thanksgiving is an extremely proper/formal celebration and should strictly adhere to the traditional foods. Another example is the cranberry.  Why is cranberry sauce served all smooth and in the shape of a can?  Just serve up the berries in their natural state!  Although, some do enjoy the sweet and tart combination of the modern cranberry sauce.  Have you even eaten a real cranberry, so sour?

Thanksgiving is a popular holiday because it is a time to be with your family and celebrate.  However, today’s family gathering is dependent on the size of your television set for the big game and how long it takes somebody to “loose it” on grandpa. The pilgrims played games like throw the ax, and swim across the freezing river.  Now those are some traditions.  “I really like the holiday Thanksgiving because it is a time that I spend with my family and enjoy the activities that we do together,” said Charlotte Stevie, sixth grader.  Well, when she puts it like that, maybe there is some good to be found in the new traditions.

In the end, maybe the modern Thanksgiving has some merit. Maybe we are doing it wrong, but making new traditions can be a good thing. The celebration of Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for what you appreciate, love, and care about. Whether we eat Turkey or watch football while lying on the couch, it is still a time to take to relax, be with friends and family and be thankful.