Thanksgiving has lost most of its original meaning. Originally it was the day we celebrated the goodness that the Native American Indians shared with the original New Englanders the day they arrived. But now it has become just a stepping-stone for Christmas.
It was not so long ago when my family would get together and plan what we would bring, whom we were to invite, and what types food we wanted to serve that day. We affectionately called this holiday the American Thanksgiving since my parents didn’t think of themselves as American’s being immigrants from the Philippines, only used this time to bring the family closer together. This holiday has real meaning, they say, and that’s why we celebrate it. It brought us closer together as a family. On those past days, we forgot all our misgivings toward one another and just had a good time telling stories and eating good food. The best part of our Thanksgiving gatherings was the food. The aroma of the sweet smelling apple pie hovering over my head brings me back to a time when this day meant more. I remember one Thanksgiving in particular, when my mother who cooked a masterfully prepared meal forgot one of the ingredients for her stuffing and wasn’t able to get it because all the stores had been closed. The meaning of this day has changed. Now every store capitalizes on this holiday and brands it as the first shopping day of Christmas.
The incarnation of this holiday is as transparent as the betrayal of the New Englanders towards the Native Americans who first settled here. Since the time of the first Thanksgiving many things have changed. The New Englanders formed a union of colonies now known as the United States and have taken over the land which the original Native Americans ruled just 200 years before. The Native American’s adhered to their customs and didn’t believe that anyone had the right to claim ownership on any land. The United States Citizens arrogantly call themselves Americans but what does that really mean? If they were really Americans then they would’ve acted more like the original settlers rather than the evil step brother of the King who was too greedy to know when something was enough. That kind gesture which the Native Americans showed to us that day showed us their basic goodness of humanity. These days when longer weekends is seen as a kind gesture it’s hard to recognize what’s good and what isn’t.
Thanksgiving has taken a backseat to Christmas. Just a few years ago the commercialization of Christmas was exploited when it was reported that Christmas was originally a pagan celebration. This exploit is just another slap in the face of the Native American who continues to passively sit still while enduring the transgressions of the United States.
The Native Americans taught us how to share on that first Thanksgiving. Two Hundred years later we still haven’t given back.