Op/Ed: Thanksgiving traditions and what it means to internationals


Photo by pixabay.com

A thanksgiving meal comprising of turkey, fruits and cookies made for a celebration dinner

Thanksgiving, as traditional as it may be to many Americans, is very foreign to a lot of international immigrants, many of whom heard of thanksgiving after they landed in the U.S.A. Those who are still unable to blend into the thanksgiving traditions just go about their duties as though nothing is going on around them.

The celebration of thanksgiving has evolved over the years in American history. According to American History, the celebration of thanksgiving now is not the same as it was initially brought about. The main celebration of thanksgiving came about in 1621, when the Mayflower pilgrims who founded the Plymouth Colony had a three-day feast in a town called Wampanoag.

Americans today celebrate thanksgiving with the signature turkey, potatoes, stuffing and pumpkin-made delicacies as deserts. People sit at a table and share all the food they can get. Also, thanksgiving is when no one checks their weights! The most important part of thanksgiving to Americans, is meeting family.

Africans and other nationals who do not have their family or extended relations with them here are sometimes found wanting. Unless you can incorporate a certain kind of “family” into your daily life, thanksgiving can be a very lonely time of the year. Until you understand the motive behind the celebration, one is likely to despise how people make grand plans towards thanksgiving.

International students for example, are a section of the ratio that find it difficult to fit in during this time of year. Some of them get invitations from their friends around campus. Fact is, most of the American-native students fly out or drive home for the celebrations. What then happens to those who stay behind? Just have casual hangouts with other students in their “situation” or watch movies together and play games.

International students are not the only ones who feel like fishes out of water during thanksgiving. Some adults who migrated into the U.S.A. also feel the same. They hear all the buzz about it but recline to regular group dinners with other internationals. Sometimes, they do not even end up eating turkey. If the culture was not a part of you from childhood, sometimes, it is just difficult to keep up with it, no matter how much you are groomed into it.

If you are an international student or immigrant in the U.S.A. and finding it very difficult to blend into the thanksgiving frenzy, just know that you’re not alone. Many others share the novelty but try to enjoy the long holidays that come along with it. Come rain or shine, more thanksgivings mean, more breaks and holidays for most people regardless of nativity. So, more turkeys? Most definitely!


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