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Knowing the history of Thanksgiving is important

— Ronniesia Reed
Thanksgiving is a day many college students look forward to. After going so long without home-cooked meals, it is no surprise we cannot wait for the holidays.

Many people make food the main focus of Thanksgiving, but are unaware of where the tradition of Thanksgiving really comes from.

The first Thanksgiving was in 1621. It was a three-day feast dedicated to thanking God and celebrating with their Indian friends. It consisted of duck, deer meat, corn ground into porridge, seafood, cabbage and squash. These selections are a lot different from what Americans typically have for Thanksgiving dinner today.

Many of our family traditions now consist of eating turkey or ham with stuffing and cranberry sauce. Even the day Thanksgiving is celebrated was different years ago. The more we know about our history, the easier it is to pass it on to the generations that will follow us.

According to Better Homes and Gardens’ website, “George Washington declared December 18 a day for solemn thanksgiving and praise. It wasn’t until the 19th century, however, that the modern Thanksgiving holiday took shape … President Franklin Roosevelt changed the holiday from the last Thursday in November to the next-to-last Thursday to extend the Christmas shopping season. After public outrage, he signed legislation in 1941 to make Thanksgiving Day the fourth Thursday of each November.”

Many of our customs originated in different cultures years before we were born.

The wishbone tradition has an interesting background.

“Legend has it that the Etruscans began the wishbone tradition,” according to Jake Thomas, writer for wnga.org.

“They believed chickens had fortune telling powers, so in the event that a chicken was killed and consumed for a meal, the sacred collarbone was saved and left to dry in the sun. Tribe members were allowed to make a wish while stroking the drying bone.“

The phrases ‘I need a lucky break’ or ‘I never get a break’ allegedly come from being the loser in this tug of chicken bone contest.

The wishbone contest is very popular in many homes, but most people don’t know where it comes from. If we keep celebrating something without knowing where it began, eventually we will become curious as to why it is being done. If no one has the answer, we might just abandon the tradition all together.

Black Friday shopping is a tradition that began in the 1960s and has recently been spiraling out of control. It used to be a day shoppers could look forward to so they could get some good deals on Christmas gifts for loved ones.

Today, Black Friday shopping is not just limited to Friday; it begins Thanksgiving Day. This is not fair to workers, or even to some shoppers. This year, the mall will be open late on Thanksgiving night, which is something I would have never imagined happening. Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are the four main holidays that the mall is closed on.

It doesn’t even seem right for the mall to be open on one of those days, and I am sure employees that have to leave their family while trying to celebrate can agree.

Customers who want a specific item are now being forced to leave home and go shopping on Thanksgiving out of fear that someone might buy the item they are looking for.

Traditions are what make the holidays fun, but they are called traditions for a reason. Knowing our history and keeping it the same is important and makes the holidays more enjoyable. TAS

About Ronniesia Reed, Staff Writer

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