Thanksgiving isn’t for everyone

Many Americans have been celebrating Thanksgiving since it was first proclaimed a national holiday in 1863, but the same can’t be said for all immigrant families new to the U.S. and its traditions. 

We’re a family of immigrants, but it’s a tradition that we’ve never really caught on to,

— sophomore Kruthi Kanduri

“Since we’re a family of immigrants, being in America is great and all, but it’s a tradition that we’ve never really caught on to,” sophomore Kruthi Kanduri said. “With Thanksgiving, it’s not as celebrated, like you don’t see decorations, and we don’t have a lot of relatives in the U.S., so we don’t have that whole spirit of family Thanksgiving.”

Immigrants from some countries, like Jai Dunlop and his family from the United Kingdom, may celebrate a few shared holidays with America, but as a holiday centered around American history, Thanksgiving is a different case.

“We don’t celebrate it in the way that most Americans do,” Dunlop said. “I normally think of it as the actual historical events around Thanksgiving, which were not a very thankful time. It was more of a greedy, ‘we’re thankful we have the power to kill thousands of Native Americans.’”

American schools often teach children that the first Thanksgiving was a peaceful feast between the first settlers and Native Americans, but neglect to mention the darker parts of relations with Native Americans throughout the country’s history.

“I find it all really stupid, since I knew the real history behind it even in elementary school,” freshman Jayden Truong said. “I knew that we weren’t actually thankful for the Native Americans.”

While some are critical of Thanksgiving because of American history, others don’t celebrate for religious and moral reasons that conflict with the holiday’s traditions.

My family still thinks it’s important to be thankful,

— sophomore Vaibhavi Bamanie

“Because of my Jainism background, I don’t kill animals,” sophomore Kathan Gandhi said. “[Jainism] has three big principles. One of them is non-violence, and that includes not being violent towards anyone, including turkeys, which are killed during Thanksgiving.”

Though the holiday may not be celebrated in every household, plenty of immigrant families still uphold the message that Thanksgiving is supposed to built around.

“My family still thinks it’s important to be thankful,” sophomore Vaibhavi Bamanie said. “My parents are more like ‘you should be thankful for everything you have everyday of the year, not just that one specific day.”