Thanksgiving: A Celebration of & for Immigrants22 Nov 2016
Of all the holidays acknowledged and celebrated in the United States of America, Thanksgiving is the one which, perhaps, can most easily be embraced by all who live here – wherever their origins, whatever their beliefs.
Most countries or cultures have a harvest festival in their yearly cycle. Here, in 1621, at Plimoth Plantation in southeast Massachusetts, Govenor William Bradford declared there would be a feast in thanks for the Pilgrims’ first harvest. Massasoit and 90 others of the Wampanoag, who had befriended the settlers and helped them to survive that first year, were invited to join the fifty-two Pilgrims for three days of feasting. The EnglishAmericans served wild fowl – turkeys, ducks, and geese. The Native American Wampanoag brought deer, clams, oysters, lobsters, and fish. Also served were the fruits of their labors in this new land: beets, cabbages, carrots, corn, cucumbers, onions, radishes, turnips, and wild fruits.
While turkey is still the centerpiece of many, but certainly not all, Thanksgiving tables, the offerings of immigrants have created any number of “traditional Thanksgiving” variations. Just as a resident of Wisconsin will consider items crucial to the meal different from those of a Southerner, the contributions of ItalianAmericans, IndianAmericans, PolishAmericans, ChineseAmericans, MexicanAmericans, and all others enrich the diversity of this holiday as their cultures enrich the diversity of this country.
However blessed or trying the past year has been; however bare or bountiful our tables; however many chairs sit empty that were occupied; or however many new chairs have been drawn close – each household has something for which to be thankful. For just one day we are joined in that, at least, and the differences in our tastes, our prayers, and our features are to be celebrated.
Happy Thanksgiving, from our Murthy Law Firm family to yours.
~ Sheela Murthy
Originally published 29.Nov.2002, we retrieve this MurthyBlog entry at Thanksgiving, believing its relevance serves as a meaningful reminder.
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