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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:48 pm 
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morecuminthancumin wrote:
linanil wrote:

I have an issue with Columbus day (that yes, I didn't realize until last month that it was still a holiday). Columbus day seems to be celebrating raping, pillaging, genocide, etc. It is interesting that Thanksgiving type celebrations were part of many native american traditions, so it even seems like it is something that was adopted from the natives. Certainly Thanksgiving as traditionally taught seems to indicate that the colonists were at peace and welcomed by the natives at the time. 'Sure, come take our land, eat our food, we'll help you survive, no worries about us'. I would hope though that people would realize that it was a huge thing for the natives that chose to help the colonists and they certainly didn't expect the betrayals that followed.

And if people believe native americans are 'doing just fine' then I'd tell them to read up.


This seems to relate to what you're saying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrArbtXNbnM

The documentary that this clip is taken from is about the man in the video. I haven't seen it.

ETA: Two people mentioned Columbus Day in this thread. A lot of people are really anti-Columbus Day, but don't feel as strongly about Thanksgiving. I wonder if it's the "food, family, give thanks" aspect of Thanksgiving that sets it apart from Columbus Day, or if it's something more. I think it's hard to really step back and look at the days objectively. We hold Thanksgiving so close, and people can get very defensive about it. If Columbus Day happened to be the day on which we celebrated with family, gave thanks, and ate lots of delicious food, would people (people in general, this is hypothetical) embrace Columbus Day like they embrace Thanksgiving?


Well it is a bit in the wording as well. Columbus day indicates we are celebrating Columbus and the things he did as well as the things that outcomes from what he is attributed with which uhh yeah we should not be celebrating. Thanksgiving indicates that we are giving thanks and the timing and celebrations are indicative of giving thanks for the bounty of summer, plentiful crops and all that. My husband and I also got married near Thanksgiving for a mixture of reasons but partly because of the association with family. I love fall and I love it even more now that I live in a seasonal climate and I associate Thanksgiving with a celebration of fall.

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Last edited by linanil on Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 3:49 pm 
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morecuminthancumin wrote:
linanil wrote:

I have an issue with Columbus day (that yes, I didn't realize until last month that it was still a holiday). Columbus day seems to be celebrating raping, pillaging, genocide, etc. It is interesting that Thanksgiving type celebrations were part of many native american traditions, so it even seems like it is something that was adopted from the natives. Certainly Thanksgiving as traditionally taught seems to indicate that the colonists were at peace and welcomed by the natives at the time. 'Sure, come take our land, eat our food, we'll help you survive, no worries about us'. I would hope though that people would realize that it was a huge thing for the natives that chose to help the colonists and they certainly didn't expect the betrayals that followed.

And if people believe native americans are 'doing just fine' then I'd tell them to read up.


This seems to relate to what you're saying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrArbtXNbnM

The documentary that this clip is taken from is about the man in the video. I haven't seen it.

ETA: Two people mentioned Columbus Day in this thread. A lot of people are really anti-Columbus Day, but don't feel as strongly about Thanksgiving. I wonder if it's the "food, family, give thanks" aspect of Thanksgiving that sets it apart from Columbus Day, or if it's something more. I think it's hard for people- myself included- to really step back and look at the days objectively. We hold Thanksgiving so close, and people can get very defensive about it. If Columbus Day happened to be the day on which we celebrated with family, gave thanks, and ate lots of delicious food, would people (people in general, this is hypothetical) embrace Columbus Day like they embrace Thanksgiving?


But what is Columbus Day about other than Christopher Columbus? Does anyone have any real, meaningful, personal associations with it?

Thanksgiving is an actual holiday. People have actual traditions. "Every Thanksgiving, we..."

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:01 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
IsaChandra wrote:
That said! Thanksgiving is like the most vegan holiday ever. I mean, I think it's a day where people go vegan at high rates, more so than New Year's even. I have no real stats for that, it's just what it seems like to me. It's also a great day for outreach and a day in which veganism gets plenty of media attention, so I think vegan Thanksgiving is really important. In my sci-fi vegan future imaginings, reclaimed Thanksgiving is the most important time of year.

I agree that Thanksgiving seems like the perfect "gateway occasion" to veganism; I can't help wondering if the fact that so many people go veg at this time of year might have something to do with all those construction paper handprint cut-outs and cardboard pictures of jolly turkeys in 17th century outfits we were exposed to as kids. In any case, because it's the holiday most overtly associated with food - most of not all holidays include special foods, etc., but Thanksgiving in particular has the big meal as its centerpiece - it's pretty ideally positioned in terms of opportunities to reinvent what that big meal consists of.


I first went vegetarian when I was a weee little tween for those exact reasons!

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:22 pm 
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FootFace wrote:
morecuminthancumin wrote:

ETA: Two people mentioned Columbus Day in this thread. A lot of people are really anti-Columbus Day, but don't feel as strongly about Thanksgiving. I wonder if it's the "food, family, give thanks" aspect of Thanksgiving that sets it apart from Columbus Day, or if it's something more. I think it's hard for people- myself included- to really step back and look at the days objectively. We hold Thanksgiving so close, and people can get very defensive about it. If Columbus Day happened to be the day on which we celebrated with family, gave thanks, and ate lots of delicious food, would people (people in general, this is hypothetical) embrace Columbus Day like they embrace Thanksgiving?


But what is Columbus Day about other than Christopher Columbus? Does anyone have any real, meaningful, personal associations with it?

Thanksgiving is an actual holiday. People have actual traditions. "Every Thanksgiving, we..."


Right, but that's what I'm saying- what if it were "Every Columbus Day, we..."? and the "giving thanks" tradition was associated with this day instead of Thanksgiving? If the government had designated Columbus Day as the day to give thanks?

linanil wrote:
Well it is a bit in the wording as well. Columbus day indicates we are celebrating Columbus and the things he did as well as the things that outcomes from what he is attributed with which uhh yeah we should not be celebrating. Thanksgiving indicates that we are giving thanks and the timing and celebrations are indicative of giving thanks for the bounty of summer, plentiful crops and all that.


That makes sense. I think there's more to it than that, though. Columbus Day is supposed to be the day we celebrate the discovery of America, but we're well aware of the fact that Columbus didn't discover anything and that he did horrible, horrible things to the indigenous peoples. Thanksgiving is supposed to be the day we give thanks, but we're aware that historically and currently, American Indians have been/are mistreated and oppressed, and that the myths surrounding Thanksgiving have played a role in that (even though it's none of our faults!). Both holidays are steeped in misinformation and ethnocentricity.

Don't get me wrong- in my mind, Columbus Day is worse. I'm just putting my thoughts out there.

Also, I'm not at all trying to be antagonistic. I just really want to hear people's opinions and knowledge about this subject. I freakin' love the idea of Thanksgiving- if I didn't, I wouldn't be spending hours of my day trying to resolve the conflict I'm feeling about it. And this conversation is helping, so again, thanks for participating!


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:35 pm 
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I think if the government put Columbus day on a Thursday and gave people a four day weekend it would be more popular. Or equally popular.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 4:46 pm 
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Right now, we have nothing to associate with Columbus Day except for Columbus.

If it were different—if Columbus Day were the source of countless memories of special family times and special foods—then, sure, people would think of those things when they think of Columbus Day. Most people would continue to think about genocide exactly as much as they do now: not at all.

I think I've lost track of what we're arguing about.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Wow, this is a great discussion.

This year I am skipping out on going to my boyfriend's mom's house for thanksgiving. She always makes a turkey and people just stuff their faces and I always feel uncomfortable with the whole atmosphere. This year I am going to make butternut squash soup with fried sage with my sister since we both can't afford to go home.

I really understand acknowledging the gruesome undertones of this holiday, I am well aware of them. I just don't know if before dinner I want to launch into the horrors of how the US has systematically destroyed Native Americans. I don't know how to go about celebrating my love of my sister and food without killing the moment.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 5:32 pm 
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In New York, at any rate, Columbus Day is a lot about Italian-Americans. I haven't really seen that association anywhere else I've lived, though. In New York, though, Italian-Americans celebrate Columbus Day kind of like Irish-Americans celebrate St. Patrick's Day.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:26 pm 
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IsaChandra wrote:
Sarah wrote:
I like Thanksgiving and don't think it has anything to do with genocide. It's about my family eating food and watching football for some odd reason.

I sometimes think people way overreact about holidays - they're just holidays. It's not like anyone is going around saying they're thankful for genocide and atrocities committed by people who have absolutely nothing to do with them. Things evolve and Thanksgiving is one of those.

It has a lot to do with genocide, you should read up on it.

Isa, I am very aware of it's origins and was not meaning to dismiss those. I was just saying that many of the people that get together to eat with family are not honoring those origins - some are probably not even aware of it. It's that reason that I don't find the holiday offensive. Just like, even though I am by no means a "patriotic" person, going to see fireworks on July 4th is fun to do with friends.

I hope I explained myself well.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 7:46 pm 
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graffitipassion wrote:
I really understand acknowledging the gruesome undertones of this holiday, I am well aware of them. I just don't know if before dinner I want to launch into the horrors of how the US has systematically destroyed Native Americans. I don't know how to go about celebrating my love of my sister and food without killing the moment.

I don't think that's the best way to do it anyway. I think it would be symbolic, but ineffective. There are 364 other days a year to talk about American Indians when your listeners would probably be more receptive to hearing what you have to say. Columbus day is actually a much better occasion since everyone doesn't have family associations with it.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Thu Oct 28, 2010 11:01 pm 
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FootFace wrote:

If it were different—if Columbus Day were the source of countless memories of special family times and special foods—then, sure, people would think of those things when they think of Columbus Day. Most people would continue to think about genocide exactly as much as they do now: not at all.

I think I've lost track of what we're arguing about.


This:

morecuminthancumin wrote:
A lot of people are really anti-Columbus Day, but don't feel as strongly about Thanksgiving. I wonder if it's the "food, family, give thanks" aspect of Thanksgiving that sets it apart from Columbus Day, or if it's something more. I think it's hard for people- myself included- to really step back and look at the days objectively. We hold Thanksgiving so close, and people can get very defensive about it. If Columbus Day happened to be the day on which we celebrated with family, gave thanks, and ate lots of delicious food, would people (people in general, this is hypothetical) embrace Columbus Day like they embrace Thanksgiving?


And I agree with you. But I wasn't arguing. I didn't think we were, at least. I hate arguing. I'm conscious of the fact that I might come across as this faceless, curmudgeonly internet person, talking smack about everyone's favorite holiday. I hope I've been able to articulate my feelings in a way that shows I'm more conflicted about it than anything else, but I'm not sure. That's why I keep clarifying that I'm not accusing or criticizing or antagonizing.

Maybe it's not productive to debate whether or not you can/should celebrate the holiday while acknowledging its history and the experiences of others. Maybe instead we should be talking about how. It seems like most people agree that it's possible. It's obviously a super subjective thing, but I'd be interested in hearing people's ideas.

I like this:

j-dub wrote:
I think a big part of it is creating a dialogue, acknowledging the history of the holiday, and trying to act in a good way.


and this:

j-dub wrote:
I do think that just focusing on the positive aspects results in erasing the history of violence and genocide against Indigenous people by the founders of our countries, and I think it speaks to an extreme amount of privilege, which is not meant to demonize anyone or make anyone feel guilty. Rather, it's an invitation to think about how defining anything solely on our own terms erases the experiences of so many people who don't have the luxury.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:30 am 
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morecuminthancumin wrote:
And I agree with you. But I wasn't arguing. I didn't think we were, at least. I hate arguing. I'm conscious of the fact that I might come across as this faceless, curmudgeonly internet person, talking smack about everyone's favorite holiday. I hope I've been able to articulate my feelings in a way that shows I'm more conflicted about it than anything else, but I'm not sure. That's why I keep clarifying that I'm not accusing or criticizing or antagonizing.

Maybe it's not productive to debate whether or not you can/should celebrate the holiday while acknowledging its history and the experiences of others. Maybe instead we should be talking about how. It seems like most people agree that it's possible. It's obviously a super subjective thing, but I'd be interested in hearing people's ideas.


All Footface does is argue (ok not really. Your feelings are valid and I think it is to discuss the various people's thoughts on the matter. I can understand why you have difficulty with Thanksgiving. And I think you can understand why others may feel differently.

You can also make your own traditions and also if it something you feel strongly about, you can think of ways to help. I don't associate Thanksgiving much with the 'original' Thanksgiving so I don't think about pilgrims and such on Thanksgiving. And aboriginal societies in general around the world haven't fared very well from what I can tell. Our native americans in the US aren't much different and like others have mentioned, you can think of them on Thanksgiving but they are there 364 days out of the year.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:51 am 
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You say dominant white culture like it is a bad thing


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:22 am 
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Thanks, linanil. :)


GuiltyofBeingSprite wrote:
You say dominant white culture like it is a bad thing


I'm not sure what part of this discussion led to you saying that, but no, I don't feel that way. It's my culture. As much as I think some things about mainstream American culture are really, really forked up, I love so many other things about it- camping, road trips, summer festivals, snowmen, sledding, rummage sales, the list goes on and on. Last summer I spent three weeks in England, and by the end of it I was like, "Holy crepe, I'm so American." I had no idea how much I identified with American culture until I left it. I couldn't wait to get home to brewed coffee (I couldn't find anything but espresso in England until I went to Starbucks). Does all that make sense? I think few things in this world are inherently bad, and American culture is definitely not one of them.

That said, I think people (myself included) in the dominant white culture (as you put it) can have difficulty recognizing their privilege. Has anyone read Peggy McIntosh's article on white privilege? You can find it here, and probably at a bazillion other places on the internet: http://www.nymbp.org/reference/WhitePrivilege.pdf


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:52 pm 
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GuiltyofBeingSprite wrote:
You say dominant white culture like it is a bad thing

morecuminthancumin wrote:
I'm not sure what part of this discussion led to you saying that, but no, I don't feel that way.

I'm fairly sure that comment was made with tongue firmly in cheek! For most of the people on this board, the dominant white culture is the water in which we swim, since we are for the most part westerners.

morecuminthancumin wrote:
As much as I think some things about mainstream American culture are really, really forked up, I love so many other things about it- camping, road trips, summer festivals, snowmen, sledding, rummage sales, the list goes on and on. Last summer I spent three weeks in England, and by the end of it I was like, "Holy crepe, I'm so American." I had no idea how much I identified with American culture until I left it.

"Dominant white" doesn't necessarily signify "mainstream American."" Western culture predates the colonization of North America by a few millennia; I understood the point of the original post as an moral/ethical/political/ideological objection to a holiday often interpreted as a celebration of the imposition of European white culture onto American natives. On a more minor note, I spend a lot of time in England, and they have all the things you list as "American," with the possible exception of sledding (my people live in the Midlands, where there's rarely a fake of snow), although they refer to the last thing on your list as a car boot sale: "two nations separated by a common language!"

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 6:48 pm 
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Desdemona wrote:
GuiltyofBeingSprite wrote:
You say dominant white culture like it is a bad thing

morecuminthancumin wrote:
I'm not sure what part of this discussion led to you saying that, but no, I don't feel that way.

I'm fairly sure that comment was made with tongue firmly in cheek! For most of the people on this board, the dominant white culture is the water in which we swim, since we are for the most part westerners.

morecuminthancumin wrote:
As much as I think some things about mainstream American culture are really, really forked up, I love so many other things about it- camping, road trips, summer festivals, snowmen, sledding, rummage sales, the list goes on and on. Last summer I spent three weeks in England, and by the end of it I was like, "Holy crepe, I'm so American." I had no idea how much I identified with American culture until I left it.

"Dominant white" doesn't necessarily signify "mainstream American."" Western culture predates the colonization of North America by a few millennia; I understood the point of the original post as an moral/ethical/political/ideological objection to a holiday often interpreted as a celebration of the imposition of European white culture onto American natives. On a more minor note, I spend a lot of time in England, and they have all the things you list as "American," with the possible exception of sledding (my people live in the Midlands, where there's rarely a fake of snow), although they refer to the last thing on your list as a car boot sale: "two nations separated by a common language!"


I agree there's a difference between the two terms. I assumed the previous poster was serious and referring to present-day American culture. I feel like "dominant white culture" has negative connotations for some people, so I was using "mainstream" as a more neutral term. As far as the list- I wasn't saying those things are exclusively American, but that they're things about American culture that I enjoy.

Do you know why it's called a car boot sale? I like that. Rummage sale is a regional term in the US, yeah? People say garage sale and yard sale, as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:40 pm 
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Are you saying that you equate white American culture with what you describe as mainstream culture? Things that are considered 'American'?

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:56 pm 
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linanil wrote:
Are you saying that you equate white American culture with what you describe as mainstream culture? Things that are considered 'American'?


Nooo. I assumed the poster was using the words "white dominant culture" to refer to mainstream culture, because I would consider most of this discussion to be more related to "mainstream" culture than "white dominant" culture (aside from the "White Privilege" article I linked).

I'm uncomfortable talking about this. I can tell that I'm getting defensive, and I'm not doing a good job of articulating my thoughts. I started this thread hoping to find other people who felt the same way with whom I could discuss my conflicting feelings, but I feel like I've been justifying, debating, and defending myself. That's not what I wanted to do.


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Sat Oct 30, 2010 10:32 pm 
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morecuminthancumin wrote:
Do you know why it's called a car boot sale? I like that. Rummage sale is a regional term in the US, yeah? People say garage sale and yard sale, as well.

Instead of having the sale in the yard, garage, etc., people put all the stuff they want to sell in the boot (trunk) of their cars, and drive it to a big field or other common space; now that I think about it, I suppose it's sort of a combination of a rummage/yard sale and a flea market.

And please don't feel defensive; I didn't mean to jump on you. As many people have expressed in this thread, it's easy to see the potential offense in a holiday that most of us were sold from childhood as a happy sitdown between the "Indians" and their English colonizers, and I agree that there are problematic elements of which we should be aware before making it all about cranberry sauce. That said, my own family hails from England on one side, and Greece on the other, but I don't feel particularly responsible for the historical imperialism (political, cultural, or otherwise) of either; I do my best to be a thoughtful, intelligent consumer, citizen, and human being, and am in no way celebrating or commemorating genocide by participating in a holiday that was A. not an original idea, but was based on the types of traditional harvest festivals held for centuries before English settlers landed here, B. was held in September or maybe October (too lazy to look it up, but the key word is "harvest"), and C. was only made an official holiday in the mid-19th century. "Thanksgiving," like many elements of popular culture that we take as "real," is just another constructed idea, and as such is open to reconstruction by anyone who chooses to take it out of its artificial box. Which I guess brings us full circle. I like Thanksgiving, because I make it about what I want it to be about. As that great imperialist Humpty Dumpty put it, "It all depends on who is to be Master."

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 31, 2010 10:53 am 
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I was thinking this morning, how did my family adopt Thanksgiving? I have no idea really. My grandfather who was born in Mexico has always been one who wanted to integrate with the American culture while maintaining his heritage. My grandma grew up on mission lands as her mother was a California mission Indian. Not sure if it was something they decided to adopt or if they had their own celebrations that coincided. My guess is they figured if other people were celebrating, they might as well celebrate too. Although I consider myself pretty well integrated into American culture and my mom's generation seems to be as well, there are definitely things that differ between Americans based on their heritage as well as where they live. I grew up in California and I can tell you I've never been sledding or made a snow man :)

And my husband as a 4th or 5th generation is well integrated but his father certainly has many interesting stories as being Irish growing up in Boston as well as having his grandparents as Irish immigrants. There are some pretty stark differences between my child hood and my husband's and it seems to be more than just location.

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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 1:56 pm 
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The holiday season is a mixed bag: the sun's gone away, it's generally colder and relatives can be challenging to hang out with.

Having said that, last year was my first vegan Thanksgiving, and I'm looking forward to having my second one this year; a tradition?

I mean, as a vegan, you can fight it or you can co-opt it and make it seem "do-able" to others. I just need to remember the vegan cranberry sauce this year! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Mon Nov 01, 2010 4:13 pm 
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I don't like celebrating it either. So I've already told everyone that I'm not doing Thanksgiving, but I really like the party so we're doing a harvest dinner the sunday afterwards. People love the idea because they feel cool for not "supporting" a crappy holiday, and they now get 2 thanksgiving dinners.

I also don't celebrate christmas, we do Yule here


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 6:39 am 
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I think it's quite sweet when American friends ask how I'm celebrating Thanksgiving, is it not widely known that this is primarily a North American things? Although we do seem to be stealing your proms ...


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:10 am 
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I get all excited, the one day of the year that it's totally apropos to eat a Tofurky Vegan Feast. :) Ooh, Isa could do a Holiday book, and we could all make our own vegan holiday yum. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Thanksgiving? No, thanks.
PostPosted: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:11 pm 
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Location: Maryland/DC area
Amarand wrote:
I get all excited, the one day of the year that it's totally apropos to eat a Tofurky Vegan Feast. :) Ooh, Isa could do a Holiday book, and we could all make our own vegan holiday yum. :)


Apparently Bryanna Clark Grogan took down her wonderful Thanksgiving page :(

here is a simple Turkey roast though
http://www.everydaydish.tv/index.php?pa ... recipe=148

_________________
You are all a disgrace to vegans. Go f*ck yourselves, especially linanil.


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