What Does Thanksgiving & Its Traditions Mean to You?

More stories from Julia Foster


A Thanksgiving art project done by the Life Skills class here at West.

Thanksgiving is two words put together that quickly summarize the holiday: thanks and giving. Thanksgiving’s premise is to give thanks and be grateful for what is given.

Thanksgiving was proclaimed a national holiday in November, 1863. Ever since, it has been celebrated by Americans every fourth Thursday of November. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, families all over America are going to be participating in the festivities.

Most individuals have a similar dinner routine: A turkey is bought along with stuffing, corn, mashed potatoes and other trademarked Thanksgiving foods. These foods are bought and prepared because in the colonial times, the American Indians shared ways to prepare these foods for the colonies. For example, corn is a vegetable the Indians showed the colonists how to plant. Delighted with the new food options that they never had in England, the colonists arranged a feast with the Indians.

As a national holiday, you’d expect students in high schools all around the nation to celebrate. As a school, most–if not all–of the student body has different celebration traditions and meaning of Thanksgiving.

For Danna Doge, a freshman, Thanksgiving is centered around family and celebration. Her family takes turns hosting the holiday.

“It’s [kind of] like Christmas ‘cause we have everyone [at the table,]” Doge said.

According to Doge, her traditions consist of setting up decorations before dinner and then playing games with her family. After she and her family eat together, she watches her younger cousins while their parents go Black Friday shopping.

Keron Derenji, a junior, loves Thanksgiving. It’s his favorite holiday out of the year.

“Usually… [I] wake up, smell food in the kitchen… ‘cause they start cooking early. Around two P.M. or so, that’s when we sit down and eat Thanksgiving [dinner,]” Derenji says. This is a common routine. Thanksgiving day is associated with waking up and feeling the atmosphere morph into familial camaraderie and the scent of future feast.

Thanksgiving is a day dedicated to being thankful and celebrating kindness. Derenji says Thanksgiving means being thankful for what he has and to always be considerate to others. Of course, food is an important part of Thanksgiving. Food is the premise of the holiday, after all. Derenji says that food isn’t the only important part. What makes the food so special is being surrounded by family.