Thursday, November 25, 2010

Time to Give Thanks

Thanksgiving is tough day for vegans. It's a day that traditional revolves around a cooked dead bird, and unfortunately most families have a difficult time with the idea of breaking tradition. Traditions tend to revolve around food, and trying to part from them often causes problems and family turmoil. I can't even stand the smell of a cooked turkey let alone the sight of one so I don't join my omnivorous family on Thanksgiving anymore. My friends and I have all broken the turkey-dinner-with-family-tradition and we started our own vegan-pot-luck-with-friends tradition. It's a lot of fun and it's something I look forward to every year.

Thanksgiving wasn't always a day of eating one's self into a food induced coma. It's believed that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 between the colonists and the Wamponoag Indians. The early settlers were dying of starvation and the Native Americans showed them how to work the land. After the first corn harvest, the settlers had a celebratory feast with the natives to thank them. It is not believed that turkey was eaten, but we will never know for sure. But what we do know for sure is that the first Thanksgiving was a celebration of the harvest a grain. Yes, it was all about plant food.

Days of thanksgiving became a tradition for the early settlers, and in later years, many states adopted an annual Thanksgiving holiday. In 1827 magazine editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She wrote many stories romanticizing Thanksgiving. Many Thanksgiving "traditions" such as eating turkey and cranberry sauce actually came from Ms. Hale's stories, not from history. So I think that since most of our traditions are made up, we have the right to change them and make our own! So gather with your friends, cook what you really want to eat today and create your own traditions. If you want to honor the original spirit of Thanksgiving, take some time to reflex and be thankful for everything you hold dear.

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