Who Is Receiving the Thanks?
A holiday special article
The holiday season had arrived. While some may already be listening to their Christmas tunes and stringing up their lights others wait for the first holiday to finish, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving can be defined as “the expression of gratitude, especially to God”. However, this definition does not seem to be true to the majority of families celebrating this holiday.
The Pilgrims left England to escape religious persecution. After arriving in Massachusetts the surviving 53 Pilgrims celebrated their safety with the native people of the land with a large feast. Thus creating the first Thanksgiving.
This tradition of turkey and food to gorge on has remained a part of American culture since 1621. While the idea of giving thanks to a higher power is the definition of this holiday, Drake University students do not find this to be practiced in the manner it was intended for.
Veronica Jandura, a senior at Drake, recalls watching Christmas movies beginning on Thanksgiving with her family.
“Christmas movies and my grandma saying Grace at the table is about all the religion that we practice at Thanksgiving,” Jandura said. “It is more so about being thankful for where each of my family members are in life and going around the table saying what each of us are thankful for religion aside.”
Religion does not find itself at Maddy Gildersleeve’s, a sophomore at Drake, Thanksgiving dinner either.
“My cousins always go to church the morning of Thanksgiving, but my direct family does not,” Gildersleeve said. “Therefore my cousins don’t fell obligated to include the religion into the actual meal because they celebrated God earlier in that day.”
The detachment between religion and Thanksgiving for the Gildersleeve family is apparent at the dinner table unless her grandparents are there.
“My grandparents incorporate religion into the meal just because that’s how they practice their religion and how they receive the most meaning out of their holiday,” Gildersleeve said. “But to me, Thanksgiving is about being thankful for those around you not necessarily above you.”
Gildersleeve and Jandura’s family Thanksgiving practices are reflective of the typical Thanksgiving meal for Drake students and their families. Thanksgiving’s definition changes from family to family, not solely defined and designated to feature religion within the holiday.
As Drake once used to be religiously affiliated, Thanksgiving seems to have fallen to the same fate.