Thanksgiving is one of America’s biggest and most widely celebrated holidays. It is a time to give thanks for the year’s good fortune, even if there is a surprising lack of good fortune to be found in the year. Even so, every fourth Thursday of November, millions of Americans gather around their dinner tables with family, friends and loved ones to celebrate the holiday.
In recent years, the tradition has received criticism about its origins and the United States’ treatment of Native Americans, along with many other cultures throughout history. Now, younger people are wondering if we should continue to recognize Thanksgiving or if we should reform the holiday to recognize other various cultures living in America.
The holiday should remain the same as it always has, not for routine or nostalgia, but rather for what it represents.
Although there are many similar holidays all around the world, Thanksgiving is distinctly and undeniably American, and should remain so. America is a country of immigrants; it always has been and will continue to be. But for decades these immigrants were proud to call themselves American. However, this is no longer the case.
In contemporary times ‘American’ is said almost as a dirty word. Individuals no longer want to label themselves as such or assimilate with the rest of the country, and instead stick closer to their own cultures. They are no longer Mexican-Americans, African-Americans or Indian-Americans, but rather Mexicans, Africans and Indians living in America. The idea of a cultural melting pot becomes more of a cultural stew.
All the different ethnicities are next to one another, but don’t mix. This causes the system to fail as communities become less integrated and more tribalistic and competitive with one another. As President Lincoln once said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand.” This is more true now than ever before, especially in these turbulent times. Now is the time to unify as a nation and treat one another as our own, instead of competing against your neighbors. Will the nation change based on whether or not we celebrate Thanksgiving? No, of course not, but it’s a start.
A holiday is a solid foundation, which we all can relate to as Americans. We may not be able to choose our families, where we were born or what ethnicity we are born into, but we can choose who we decide to break bread with.