by Alex Le
Eagle Editorial Board
With Thanksgiving gone, one can only reminisce on the memories that the holiday brings. Thanksgiving marks the beginning of a holiday season, with the start of Christmas music playing on Sunny 99.1 and favorite American traditions such as two-hand touch football, feasting all day and working tirelessly for Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving is the implied day where Christmas lights go up, stores begin their holiday hours, and bad news for the turkey population.
Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks to God and your family for blessings and a time to be grateful. Whether you are that overly aggressive two-hand touch football guy or the sneak another serving of sweet potato pie guy, there’s always that sentimental feeling of Thanksgiving we all value. The Thanksgiving traditions at St. Thomas vary from student to student. From involving a very special meal to a giant snowball fight.
The first Thanksgiving tradition took place in the autumn of 1619 in the Virginia colonies, where Indians and Pilgrims gathered to give thanks. Each had their own religions to give thanks to, but most importantly to give thanks to each other. As food supplies became scarce, the Pilgrims had to learn how to farm their own crops. They seeked and received help from the Indians and soon were able to farm their own beans, corns and other vegetables. Meanwhile, the Indians learned the westernized culture of the Pilgrims and adapted to their style of living.
The first gathering consisted of 90 Indians and Pilgrims, as an opportunity to feast and offer blessings to their respective religions. Although there is no evidence of the “first Thanksgiving dinner”, this has become the norm to believe in America. The Thanksgiving tradition in America has evolved since the time of the Indians and Pilgrims. Many wake up early to catch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV, to turn on the turkey friers or to do some last minute cleaning until the family comes. Sports, especially football, has been a tradition of America during Thanksgiving. The annual showing of NFL games have been a favorite American pastime.
The traditions of Thanksgiving vary from family to family. As diverse as the student body is at St. Thomas, there is no doubt there are as many traditions.
Senior Deniz Baykal goes with his parents to his father’s origin coutnry- Turkey. As “pun-ny” as that sounds, Baykal has had his Thanksgiving turkey in Turkey.
One tradition that senior Chris Voss and his family has is participating in a larger than usual Thanksgiving dinner.
“My parents invite my family from all over the world to come to dinner. I have aunts and uncles from Philadelphia, sister in Dallas and cousins in France,” Voss said. “We’ll have a house with close to 50 people and it’s cool because I only get to see these family members once a year, and it’s during Thanksgiving.”
This grandiose dinner consists of “many turkeys, countless bowls of mashed potatoes, and about 50 full stomachs.” A part of the Voss tradition is also one of many Texans. The annual viewing of the Texas A&M and the University of Texas game. This game turns neighbors into enemies and brothers into haters during this three hour game.
“My family is impartial to the game, but it is always on during dinner,” Voss said. “I usually root for the underdog and for once in a long time, I’ll be rooting for the ‘Horns.”
Another interesting Thanksgiving tradition is the annual snowball fight by the family of freshman CJ Tolman. Traveling to Philadelphia every year for Thanksgiving, Tolman is fortunate enough to visit a place where snow is ample and almost an annoyance.
“Houston is weird. We get so excited when we get a fraction of snow. When I’m in Philadelphia, snow is more annoying than pests and pigeons,” Tolman said.
Snow is all fun and games until someone gets hurt. The Tolman family’s annual snowball fight consists of all family even grandparents.
“It’s cool to see my whole family get involved in something. Although you’ll still see grandma sniping someone with snow behind a bush,” Tolman said. “All in all, the snowball fight is fun and gets us hungry for the dinner after.”
A very strange, but long kept Thanksgiving tradition belongs to the family of senior Trey Hebert. Most families finish their Thanksgiving dinner, or save it for leftovers. The Hebert family goes up to their ranch in Wyoming each Thanksgiving. Inviting just immediate family, the family have a Thanksgiving dinner followed by using their leftovers in a very interesting way. Most families use their leftovers to have during lunch later on the week. The Hebert family, instead, blesses the leftovers and uses it as offerings for their religion. As strange as it sounds, in fact many religions offer up gifts to gods. Forms of Hinduism, Islam, and Christianity do sacrifices to their respective gods. Being a devote Hindu, Hebert and his family partake in food offerings and sacrifices. “Most people think it’s pretty weird, but it’s been a part of my family and our religion,” Hebert said. “Offering up food to the gods are said to bring good luck and fortune to the world.”
So as Thanksgiving nears, one should prepare by being grateful. Say thank you to your parents, cherish what you have and do not desire too much what you want. At St. Thomas, what we need is already given to us, a good family, basic needs, and an excellent education. Look back on the first Thanksgiving and think about what the Indians and Pilgrims were really thankful for. So this Thanksgiving, enjoy the glutton of turkey, ham, cranberry sauce, and all the trimmings. Just stash your desires for what you really do not need until Christmas.