Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Did You See It Coming?

This is my Thanksgiving Day post. I know. I'm 2 days early but what I have to say should be reflected upon beforehand.

This holiday is probably the oldest American holiday. Seeing as how it's an observance of the infamous celebration between the Native Americans and the European colonists, who would later become known as the Pilgrims, I can't think of an older American tradition. Do we even know what we're celebrating anymore though? Children are still taught that the "Pilgrims" came over on the Mayflower in search of religious freedom. They met the "Indians" and shared with each other their various ways and traditions. I'm getting this from my kids and out of a book published in 1990. (I know. That's a while ago but it's writings are still shared and taught to U.S. children.) The European colonists actually came to America to establish shipping routes back to England for fish. The first Thanksgiving that was shared between them and the colonists was the first step that led to the decimation of Native Americans and their eventually been herded onto reservations. This certainly wasn't what I was taught in school but learned as an adult.

Now, I teach my own children that Thanksgiving is simply a gathering of family and friends for an elaborate dinner. I don't teach them the Pilgrims and Indians story since I think this would be hypocritical. I also set them straight from what they are taught every year at school.

If you stop and think about it, most American holidays are falsely celebrated. Christmas certainly has lost all meaning throughout the centuries. Today it is a contest to see who can beat whom out on Black Friday for the best deals and then to see who can stuff the most presents under the tree. Veterans Day is not a celebration of our nation's heroes but rather an opportunity to spout various political views and, at least in our town, to protest the military out in front of the recruiting offices. Easter. Come on!! The Easter bunny and Easter eggs are a complete and total slap in the face to the religious tenants of the day.

Is this a completely pessimistic view? Hell yeah it is and totally true! Do I feed into it? Hell yeah I do! My turkey is thawing in the fridge and I already have a plan set out for Friday. The amount of presents under our tree every year is shameful. Even the dog has a stocking. Then what the heck is my point here? There really isn't one since nobody is going to change their ways. I just think that it's important not to lie to our kids and ourselves about holidays and their true meanings. I also think that being a submarine religious type is hypocritical but again, that's another topic for another day.

Eat, drink, and be merry. Make a good wish on the bone, stuff yourself until you have to unbutton your pants, and then pass out in a tryptophan induced coma. That is what Thanksgiving is all about in my house.

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