he Politics Watcher
Sign InSubscribe
US Politics

The Invented Traditions of Thanksgiving: Unveiling the Truth

Share this article

Examining evidence supporting the notion that Thanksgiving is an invented tradition.

description: an anonymous image depicts a festive table adorned with a variety of delicious dishes, including a roasted turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. family members are shown gathered around the table, engaging in lively conversation and sharing a joyful meal.

Thanksgiving, a cherished holiday in the United States, is often associated with gratitude, family gatherings, and feasting. However, according to James W. Baker, the senior historian at Plimoth Plantation, there is evidence that suggests the ways people celebrate Thanksgiving today are nothing more than invented traditions.

Baker argues that the popular narrative surrounding Thanksgiving lacks historical accuracy. He points out that the commonly held belief that Thanksgiving originated solely from the Pilgrims' feast with Native Americans in Plymouth Colony is a simplistic and incomplete understanding of the holiday's origins.

One of the main pieces of evidence supporting the idea of Thanksgiving as an invented tradition is its evolution over time. Baker explains that Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it as such in 1863. Prior to that, Thanksgiving was celebrated in various forms and on different dates across the country.

The concept of Thanksgiving as a harvest festival, where people came together to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, has roots in many cultures. Baker suggests that the customs and traditions associated with Thanksgiving today are an amalgamation of these diverse influences, rather than a direct descendant of the Pilgrims' feast.

Additionally, Baker highlights the significant influence of Native American culture on the development of Thanksgiving. Native Americans had long celebrated harvest festivals before the arrival of European settlers. The exchange of food and knowledge between the Pilgrims and Native Americans undoubtedly played a role in shaping the Thanksgiving we know today.

The idea of a Thanksgiving feast featuring turkey and other traditional dishes is another invented tradition. While it is believed that the Pilgrims and Native Americans consumed wild fowl during their feast, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that turkey was the centerpiece of their meal.

Moreover, the emphasis on family and community during Thanksgiving is a modern construct. Baker argues that the idea of gathering with loved ones to express gratitude and enjoy a lavish meal is a reflection of changing societal norms and the influence of marketing campaigns.

Baker's perspective challenges the notion of Thanksgiving as an unchanging, timeless tradition. He argues that the ways people celebrate today's Thanksgiving are a result of cultural and societal shifts, rather than being rooted in historical accuracy.

Despite the notion of Thanksgiving as an invented tradition, it remains an important aspect of American culture. The holiday continues to serve as a reminder to express gratitude and foster unity among diverse communities.

Baker's insights prompt us to critically examine the customs and traditions we associate with Thanksgiving. While the historical origins may be complex and multifaceted, the essence of the holiday - gratitude and togetherness - remains a cherished value.

As we gather around our Thanksgiving tables, it is worth acknowledging the contributions of Native Americans and the diverse cultural influences that have shaped this holiday. Understanding the invented nature of Thanksgiving traditions allows us to appreciate the evolving nature of American culture.

In conclusion, James W. Baker's assertion that Thanksgiving is an invented tradition is supported by various pieces of evidence. The historical accuracy of Thanksgiving's origins, the evolving nature of its customs, and the influence of diverse cultures all contribute to the idea that the ways we celebrate today's Thanksgiving are indeed invented traditions.

While the concept of an invented tradition may challenge our preconceived notions, it also allows us to embrace the dynamic nature of our society. Thanksgiving, regardless of its origins, provides an opportunity for us to come together, express gratitude, and celebrate the spirit of unity.

By acknowledging the invented nature of Thanksgiving traditions, we can foster a deeper understanding of our own cultural heritage and appreciate the contributions of various communities in shaping this beloved holiday.

james w. bakersenior historianplimoth plantationthanksgivinginvented traditionevidencecelebratetodaytraditionscustomshistorical accuracyamerican culturenative americansplymouth colonyabraham lincolnnational holidayfeastinggratitudeunityfamilycommunitypilgrimsnative american influenceharvest festival

May Interest You

Share this article
3640 Concord Pike Wilmington, DE 19803
About ThePoliticsWatcher
© 2023 - ThePoliticsWatcher. All Rights Reserved