Where do you stand on the current argument about whether to keep saying Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Friendsgiving?
So as I type this, we just had an extremely Happy Thanksgiving even though there was some talk about why aren't we calling it Friendsgiving like our middle daughter is.
I was the first to answer with a somewhat snide comment that came out like this, "Thanksgiving has always been about being thankful for family and friends for as long as I can remember."
A Little Background
Now to explain this, you must know for the first 14 years of my life, I spent Thanksgiving in Sicily, where Thanksgiving as we know it in the US and Canada isn't celebrated as we do here.
In Italy and throughout the regions that make up Italy, they celebrate what is called La Festa del Ringraziamento, which refers to a variety of religious holidays held throughout the year for patron saints.
I know what you may be thinking: with all the patron saints out there, that would call for many festive occasions. If you are, you're correct with a bit of a caveat, the festival or events are always with good reason.
I was taught that the LaFesta del Ringraziamento was a way to thank our family and friends for everything they have done in the past year.
My grandmother would tell me stories of how she prayed for help with something going on at home, a poor season of crops, or maybe the health of a loved one. I know for a fact she prayed to certain saints over and over when I was going through physical therapy due to polio, always asking a saint to find the right doctor or therapist to help with my treatment. When a prayer was answered, she would note who came to the rescue and invited them to the next LaFesta.
Of course, we had many LaFesta's throughout the year, and they were always a wonderful time with family and friends. However, there was never a turkey involved.
The food for the occasion included an antipasto made up of cured or smoked meats and sausages, olives, salted anchovies, sardines. Also included were fresh or pickled vegetables, shellfish, peppers, and cheeses. Then some assorted pasta dishes would then come out—finally a beef or pork roast topped off the main course
Of course, we can't forget the desserts that came out; it was like a bakery had just opened in our home. There were cannolis of all types, pies, cakes, and assorted cookies. You could fill up on just the desserts themselves, never mind the main course.
The most significant part of the meal was always my grandfather thanking everyone for coming to our home for this special occasion. He would not only thank everyone at once but then mention each thing a person had helped our family with and how they may have helped others in the village.
Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving?
I learned during those years that Thanksgiving was about giving thanks to our family and friends and had nothing to do with the Pilgrims and Indians. When we moved to the USA, I learned in school about the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth rock and meeting the Indians and then having a meal with them that became Thanksgiving. Of course, there's more to the story, and I'm sure you know that, but let's cut to the chase.
The reason people want to change the name of Thanksgiving is due to the history, and if you go by the past, I can see why.
But if you go by what I was taught as a child in Sicily, Thanksgiving is a way to give thanks to family and friends, and that's the end of it.
I don't argue with anyone about what they want to call the holiday; it's up to them. As I stated above, our middle daughter prefers to call it Freidnsgiving Day. Which I guess is the politically correct form, but I don't see a reason for changing the name if you believe in the meaning I've given you today.
Thanksgiving is and always will be our family's way of showing thanks to everyone we know.
Mark & Patti
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