Thanksgiving holds a lot of different meanings for people all over America. To most college students, the holiday serves as a much-needed break from their studies and a time to clear their minds and fill their stomachs just before they go back to pulling all-nighters and cramming for finals.
For sophomore mass media major, Denver Vaughn, it’s a time to be thankful and spend time with family.
Freshmen business major, Kissiah Stokes, views the holiday as a time to celebrate her family’s company and give thanks to God.
How many of us though, truly know the history of Thanksgiving?
According to National Geographic, the very first Thanksgiving was actually a festival organized by Governor William Bradford in November of 1621 to celebrate a successful harvest. The pilgrims had forged an alliance with the local tribes and invited them to the three-day festival. President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in 1864 and has now become a tradition for many families in the U.S. But of course, everyone celebrates differently.
While many of us will be gathering around the dinner table and passing the stuffing on Thanksgiving Day, thousands of Americans will gather in Plymouth, Massachusetts for what is known as the “National Day of Mourning.” According to the Huffington Post, people take this day as an opportunity to “educate people about the vicious history of the treatment of Native Americans and issues affecting them today.”
With all of the controversy surrounding this holiday, some people may wonder whether or not it’s even worth celebrating.
“We’ve been doing it for so long, and it won’t be the first or the last holiday to have controversy,” Stokes said.
Even those who are not native to America think Thanksgiving is an important part of the holiday season.
“I am an immigrant and so coming to America and celebrating Thanksgiving is really big for me,” Fernanda Crumpton, a freshman international business major, said. Crumpton is from Nicaragua and has been in America for 14 years. She says that Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday and its really about being with the people you love.
It’s no secret that the true story of Thanksgiving differs greatly from the stories we were taught in elementary school. I’m not sure why the U.S. continues to try and hide it’s checkered past but honestly, it’s getting old. Once America starts being honest with its people, the true healing can finally begin. Thanksgiving is truly a great holiday; however, it would be unjust to continue celebrating without acknowledging the true story behind the event and finding a way to honor the lives of those who lost their lives so many years ago.
Story by Jada Dukes, Staff Writer. Photo by Getty Images.