Ethnography Paper

1094 words - 5 pages

As the holiday season is coming nearer each day, I found it appropriate to look further into the traditional Thanksgiving topic. I can only describe what my family does, my Puerto Rican and Caucasian family. As far as I can say, we are not necessarily traditional with our celebration of Thanksgiving. So I figured why not use this assignment as a way to further look into the holiday and how it is celebrated across America, this can mean anything from families celebrating it in their homes, to the retail shops of the country selling holiday/seasonal items to go along with the tradition. I would like to examine the traditions of thanksgiving.
In an article by Pleck (2011) it was claimed that the pilgrims did not have ruffled shirts, buckled shoes nor did they consume on turkey at the harvest feast that occurred in 1621. This may come as a shock to most because growing up we were taught to believe these along with other “facts” about the harvest feast that we come to know as the first thanksgiving. The pilgrims lost many of their people in the winter of 1620 due to lack of foraging knowledge. This led the colony to form a relationship with the Wampanoag tribe. They taught them how to fish as well as gather vegetables. This is thought to be common knowledge but as previously stated this may not be completely true after all. Pleck was not the only person to uncover the truth about the harvest feast of 1621. A director named Ellis (2010) made a documentary that confirms the feast did not include turkey, like our current tradition, but most likely may have included; goose, corn, cod and also lobster, as this was more commonly consumed in the area. This again may come as a surprise to people because growing up we were not told this.
In America there are various ways that thanksgiving is celebrated. People gather at relative’s houses, to either eat and spend quality time as a family or watch the football game that just so happens to come on right after their bellies are full. The dinners usually take place with relative and friends. There seems to be an unwritten rule of foods that are expected to be consumed at the dinner such as; turkey, potatoes, corn, yams/sweet potatoes and some variant of a pumpkin based dessert. There are also various parades that take place to celebrate thanksgiving leading into Christmas, like the Macy’s thanksgiving parade for example. Department stores, such as Macy’s, as well as some smaller retail stores use thanksgiving as the transition to prepare them for the rush that is black Friday. Some people do not take in what the holiday was meant for, giving thanks, and get to ecstatic about the great deals that their favorite store is throwing for the first 20 people in line at 10 p.m. on thanksgiving night. The department stores use this shopping “holiday” to prepare everybody for Christmas and all of the shopping that goes along with it. This tends to take away from the thanksgiving experience because even at the dinner with...

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