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Thanksgiving. Tell us (non-US folk) what it's all about.

 
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 05:36 am
@margo,
margo wrote:

An interesting explanation! Chemically assisted?


Don't be ridiculous.

Unless green salad counts as a chemical.

This is JUST HOW MY MIND WORKS PEOPLE....all by itself.

ALL THE TIME.

Pretty much even whenI am asleep.
0 Replies
 
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 05:36 am
@farmerman,
Another traditional foo group served only at Thanksgiving is the "STringb ean and mushroom soup covered with some chunks of crispy wood ,Casserole"

The origins of this dish are lost in recent history but, nevertheless, The above mentioned casserole is served as a universal offering at the thanksgiving "feast".

dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 05:39 am
@farmerman,
farmerman wrote:

Another traditional foo group served only at Thanksgiving is the "STringb ean and mushroom soup covered with some chunks of crispy wood ,Casserole"

The origins of this dish are lost in recent history but, nevertheless, The above mentioned casserole is served as a universal offering at the thanksgiving "feast".




I have a friend who was subjected to sweet potato pie WITH GODDAM MARSHMALLOWS when spending a year in Maryland.

She still goes sort of green when she thinks about it. She is not sure her blood sugar ever went back to normal, and her pancreas has never stopped talking about The Night of the Great Insulin Production Emergency.

farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 05:47 am
@dlowan,
During the holidays, our national consumption of sugar and corn syrup skyrocket. Its boon time for the diabetes industry.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 05:49 am
@farmerman,
I'm seeing the thanksgiving feast in a whole new way, farmer!
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:01 am
@dlowan,
funny deb

liked the thanksgiving stream of unconsciousness too
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:04 am
@McTag,

Quote:
If you google "Thanksgiving meaning" as I just did you will be offered a whole clutch of answers and they're all remarkably different. Shocked


I just looked, too, McTag:

"Results 1 - 10 of about 7,060,000"

I had no idea this was such a complicated & controversial subject! Surprised

0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:10 am
@Steve 41oo,
well I tried googling "the meaning of thanksgiving" and the first thing that came up was

Quote:
Thanksgiving, as the historical landmark we celebrate, is a result of political history and has very little to do with any date or events pertaining to pilgrims or America specifically.

Although, few would defend the historical accuracy or the celebration of the massacre of native peoples, the failure to publicly denounce the traditional meaning of Thanksgiving is another small piece of the silent complicity that allows racism and a racially constructed history to continue to shape our understanding of world events, and our perceptions of different groups.


And I thought it was all about turkeys. Isnt the internet wonderful?
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:18 am
Somehow, I have this feeling that msolga is being quite serious while the rest of you clowns are having a field day. So I'll step out of character, for once, and try to give some serious answers.

First, as to the origins of this strange holiday. Need it even be said that the American Thanksgiving tradition is just the modern day extension of the old English celebration of harvest home? Every agriculture-based society in Europe has traditions of some sort of celebration at the time that the the crops have finally been brought in, the farm animals slated to be eaten have all been slaughtered and in some manner preserved for Winter, and the Winter season is nearly here. The very first celebration of what we call Thanksgiving today was probably based on this tradition. As far as we know, the Puritans of Plymouth, Massachusetts (who called themselves Pilgrims) probably never referred to it as Thanksgiving and it certainly was not intended to have a precedent-setting nature. They had survived their first year in the New World with abundant help from the native population and felt it was proper to celebrate this. Actually, only about half of the original passenger list from the Mayflower had suvived. Something close to 50 % had perished during that first Winter of 1620-21. The handful still alive had good reason to be thankful to whatever Supernal Power they believed in and that's where the quasi-religious aspect of the modern holiday comes in. Other than that, the first Thanksgiving was just a berbie party, quite probably with plenty of beer and hard cider flowing. The Puritas were "puritanical" in many senses of the word, but not when it came to what today we are pleased to call "adult beverages." There are any number of references to ales and spirits in their epistelary writing.

They had survived, as said above, largely because the indigenous Pequot tribe had proved to be quite friendly and supportive of the newcomers. So the Europeans thought it only right to invite their chief, Massasoit (whence, incidentally Massachusetts gets its dtrange name) , to the shindig. He showed up with about 70 of his men as a retinue so the Pilgrims were hard pressed to provide enough food for all. Especially since the locals decided to stick around for three whole days. What did they consume during this three-day feast? Most historians agree that turkey was very likely not on the menu. Wild turkeys (the only kind available in those days) are pretty scrawny birds, believe it or not. It would have taken a whole lot of them to feed that crowd. They're also fairly agile birds, not at all easy to bag with a blunderbuss or any of the primitive muskets that the Pilgrims had. A bow and arrow is really far superior to most of the early firearms those people had. What they probably did have is a supply of venison, already cured in some fashion and laid away for the Winter. Undoubtedly, they'd have available the local catch of fish and seafood from the Atlantic ocean and the rivers and streams of Cape Cod. It has been suggested that eel was probably served in fairly large quantities. At the time, wild grapes grew in profusion on Cape Cod and these may have helped stretch out the meal(s). Cranberries -- a staple in today's Thanksgiving celebrations -- came later.

That's the background. Today, Americans continue to celebrate Thanksgiving as a uniquely American feast. What it really is, is a commercialized, gluttonous feast that's a lead-in to the upcoming chaotic, psychotic, avaricious Christmas season. The "traditional" meal -- and it's a tradition dating back to at least the 1930s -- consists of turkey and all the trimmings because the wild turkey is endemic to the North American continent and was, therefore, thought appropriate by some 20th century poultry marketers. That's in spite of the fact that commercially grown butterball turkeys bear virtually no resemblance whatever to their cousins in the wild. Cranberry sauce is served as a complement because today cranberries are grown in large bogs on Cape Cod and elsewhere and are a major source of income for large agricultural conglomerates.

For most Americans celebrating this harvest feast, it's a chance for families to get together and eat a cart-load of fatty, sugary foods to put on some fat on their own bodies, hopefully enough to help insulate them against the coming Winter cold. In some families, it's the only time of the year that the entire extended family gets together. Statistics show that the three-day weekend sees more travel -- by car, by air, by bus -- than any comparable holiday. It's far more crowded on the highways at Thanksgiving than it is at Christmas. People who haven't seen each other for the whole year get together and say inane things to each other, e.g. "So, what are you doing for Christmas?" "I see you've put on some weight since last year" and the like.

You ask about religious significance, msolgs. Well, it's not a religious holiday in the usual sense of the word. Some churches, not all, may hold services on the day, but that's fairly unusual. Most people don't go to church. Many, however, do say "grace", ask a blessing before the meal. And in some families this could well be the only meal of the year where they do so. After all, if it's a thanksgiving some thanks must be given, is the reasoning.

But, in the final analysis, all it really is is the lead-in to the frantic Christmas shopping season. That, and a chance to take a break from work before that season starts. Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the Thursday, the last Thursday of the month of November. The Friday following, in recent years, has come to be known as Black Friday. (That's all I've been hearing on the news this morning.) What the "black" refers to is not anything sinister. The refernce is black ink in the ledger. Ostensibly this is the day that will tell the retailers whether or not they'll end up "in the black" by the end of the year or whether the red ink will give them bad news. It's supposedly the biggest shopping spree day of the year, owing to the fact that many people -- those not working in retail or emergency-oriented occupations -- have it as an extra holiday. Shopping on Black Friday, apparently far outstrips any last-minute shopping on or eommediately preceding Christmas Eve.

There you have it in a nutshell, msolga. I could, of course, wax far more eloquent than this, but it's only 7 a.m. here and I'm working on my first cup of black coffee. If I can be of any further assistance, please let me know.

The merry one.
farmerman
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:25 am
@Merry Andrew,
Thats a story that has been cobbled together by the greeting card industry and is made to create a holiday in an otherwise dark time of year and before all the Christmas crap is put out in the stores.

Dont believe MA, he designs greeting cards.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:25 am
@Merry Andrew,
That should be "barbie" (as in BBQ) not "berbie" in the 2d paragraph. Too late to punch "edit."
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:34 am
@farmerman,
Which part are you refering to, Farmer? I thought I was being highly critical of the whole mess.

Btw, folks, there are a number of other typos in that post, as you've no doubt noticed by now. My apologies. It's too early in the day.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:40 am
@Merry Andrew,
Quote:
There you have it in a nutshell, msolga. I could, of course, wax far more eloquent than this, but it's only 7 a.m. here and I'm working on my first cup of black coffee. If I can be of any further assistance, please let me know.

The merry one.


Wow, you must be dynamite by 9 am, Andrew! Wink I am impressed!
That was a mine of information. Many thanks.

Yeah, I did start out being quite serious, but hey, it's OK for anyone to respond in anyway they wish ... good, bad, ugly or funny. The more the merrier.
Now I'm imagining farmer dodging hoards of swooping wild turkeys as he drives his car along isolated country roads! Laughing

A question: are people expected to go to work the next day (Black Friday) after all that thanksgiving feasting? It must he a very, very hard day to get through the day, if so!

Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:41 am
@Merry Andrew,
thanks merry. So its not all about racism and feeling guilty? Its about getting fat for winter!
Merry Andrew wrote:
...For most Americans celebrating this harvest feast, it's a chance for families to get together and eat a cart-load of fatty, sugary foods to put on some fat on their own bodies, hopefully enough to help insulate them against the coming Winter cold.
In England we wear clothes. Its traditional.
0 Replies
 
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:53 am
@msolga,
Quote:
A question: are people expected to go to work the next day (Black Friday) after all that thanksgiving feasting? It must he a very, very hard day to get through the day, if so!


It depends on the job you have. Obviously, if you're a sales clerk in a store, this could be the busiest day of the year for you. Police, firefighters, hospital workers etc. etc.. ,just as obviously, don't get the day off. But schools are closed so teachers can rest up. Smile Many employers not in the retail end of business will give their workers the day off. So it's a sort of four-day weekend for some, not for others.

Steve: Laughing Laughing Laughing
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 06:55 am
Merry Andrew wrote:
For most Americans celebrating this harvest feast, it's a chance for families to get together and eat a cart-load of fatty, sugary foods to put on some fat on their own bodies, hopefully enough to help insulate them against the coming Winter cold.


Then you have those folks who have retired, and moved to Florida (where the elephants, and the northerners, go to die). There is absolutely no reason to insulate our bodies with excess fat, as it is relatively warm here in the winter. Out of habit, we have a major pig-out on Thanksgiving Day, ingesting enough calories to keep us going until the end of next year.

Then, in order to feel quite noble, we brave the stores on Black Friday, expending a lot of the excess calories elbowing those poor younger creatures who have not learned the art of slamming through to get to the item that you absolutely HAVE to have, at 50% off. This works well, especially for those retired folks from New York, who had spent decades knocking old ladies over to get a seat on the subway, and have elevated being pushy into a high art form.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 07:09 am
@Phoenix32890,
Laughing

You lot are ruining all my illusions! Just about every American I ever knew here (in Oz) would go all misty eyed around thanksgiving time & become terribly homesick. And would feel a deep need to enact the eating/getting together rituals as best they could, even though many of us Australians never quite "got" it. It seemed such a huge deal! And now you tell me it's all just a bit of a pig out & a marketing strategy! Surprised
Butrflynet
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 07:14 am
I spent some of my Thanksgiving Day feeding the wild turkeys who take refuge in our apartment complex this time of year. Not sure if they are hiding from the hunters and cooks or just bringing their ladies here to go a courting down by the pond. I suspect they are hiding out since this is the only time of year they come visiting. Either way, I prefer to feed them then have them feed me. It's a lot more entertaining too.

http://butrfly.net/uploaded_images/turkey010-751653.jpg

http://butrfly.net/uploaded_images/turkey011-747461.jpg

They seem to have thinned out from last year's over abundance. There was still a large group, but it was definitely noticeable that some of their kin were no longer with us.
0 Replies
 
Phoenix32890
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 07:29 am
@msolga,
Now, now msolga, maybe it is the jaded side of me that is coming through. I think that after awhile you get sick of FFF (forced family fun). Then again, it is the only time of the year that you can eat Aunt Martha's horrible apple pie, that is soggy and full of cornstarch, and listen to the same awful jokes that Uncle Charlie tells every year.

Seriously though, we had been going to my SIL for the last 20+ years. We have no other family around here, and she had her kids, and grandkids, so we would get together at her place. The "boys" (who have kids of their own) would play video games. One of the dil looked and acted like she was always stoned. After saying "hello", I found that I had nothing more to say to her.

I did like the other dil, and spoke with her often, but that was not a reason to travel 1 hour plus. Mr. P. and I had been talking about begging off for the last few years, and the death of his sil this spring made that decision unnecessary.

When one of the neighbors found out that we were not going anywhere, they invited us, and I had a better time than I had had in two decades.

It is well known that there is a spike in depression during the period between Thanksgiving and New Years'. It is postulated that people have this unrealistic positive attitude about the holidays, and when it fails to meet with expectations, people become depressed.The media hype about the Christmas season, does not help, either.
0 Replies
 
shewolfnm
 
  2  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2008 08:10 am
where thanksgiving came from is a scary thought.
Supposedly the people whio "discovered" america, spent their time killing off the indians, and over taking their land and forcing their religion on them calling them heathen and uncivilized.

If the rumors are true, some white person offered an indian person a damn turkey and made them eat. That is a sign of thanks I guess.
But a lot of american history is made to be fluffy and happy , so thanksgiving in schools is taught as people offering peace to the native people of this land. And that we are supposed to give thanks to everything else like they did, but in our own homes.

Thanksgiving is an exuse for an already obese country to eat even more and enjoy it.

I personally like having the excuse to fill my house with people, family and friends... cook a lot of food for them and enjoy a crowded table of people I love.
In no way do I do that to "honor settlers" or give thanks for people who killed native people so that I could live here..


but Im a bit cynical..
0 Replies
 
 

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