Thanksgiving history important to remember

Although it seems like the first day of school was just yesterday, it is already halfway through November. With the weather turning colder and fall and winter breaks approaching quickly, the mind focuses somewhat involuntarily to the upcoming holiday season. However, when we celebrate Thanksgiving, it is important to remember the actual history of the holiday, and more importantly, why we are celebrating it. From an early age, students are taught about the holiday, but specifically the first Thanksgiving. In Kindergarten, students sometimes dress up like pilgrims, complete with a construction paper pilgrim hat. This role-playing leaves most with a solid idea about how Thanksgiving originated. “It was when the pilgrims, who were thankful for the Native Americans’ help, celebrated the first harvest together,” senior Kristin Amdahl said. However, beyond the first Thanksgiving, students’ knowledge of the holiday is murky. For instance, most people do not know that it wasn’t until 1941 that Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday. History of a few key Thanksgiving day traditions are also foreign to some. While most associate Thanksgiving with the Macy’s Parade and football, most do not know that Macy’s had its parade debut in 1924 and the Lions started throwing the pigskin on Turkey Day in 1934. Although these events are hallmarks of Thanksgiving, people should not forget what the holiday is all about. “All we do is stress over making food,” senior Shelby Fisher said. “I think that Thanksgiving should be more than sitting at a table and stuffing our faces with food.” “Some people focus too much on parades and floats when really it’s about being thankful for what you have” Amdahl said. Despite students’ various misconceptions about the history of Thanksgiving, the meaning of the day remains mostly clear, and in the end, it is what makes Thanksgiving memorable. “I used to celebrate Thanksgiving just because my parents said I need to be thankful, but as I’ve grown I’ve found out what that means,” Amdahl said.