Students demonstrate thankfulness with different cultural traditions

by Emma Baker

Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving a little differently (photo courtesy of Meghan Blatchley).

Thanksgiving is a time to fellowship and gather with your loved ones. In America, we celebrate this food-filled holiday on the last Thursday of every November. Thanksgiving Day is an annual holiday in the United States and Canada for celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Americans generally believe that their Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists of Plymouth. 

This time of year always brings to mind colored pumpkins, big turkey dinners, the leaves changing, warm apple cider, sweater weather and big corn mazes. For many families, Thanksgiving is a time of getting together and celebrating what they are all thankful for. Everyone celebrates Thanksgiving a little differently. 

Zane Wessman, a 2019 nursing major graduate from the University of Northwestern–St. Paul, says that celebrating Thanksgiving in America is a lot like celebrating Shavuot. Growing up in Israel for a vast majority of his life, he celebrated this holiday, which happens in mid-May for a couple of days and changes dates every year.

Wessman said, “Shavuot is a time of celebration and praise to God for the year’s harvest.” During biblical times, there were seven different offerings given to God called the seven species. The seven species are wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. In Deuteronomy 16:10 it says, “Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you” (NIV). 

Wessman mentions that “[Shavuot] is a holiday of giving thanks, and one of the main ways they show this is by giving fruit baskets with fresh fruit, dried fruit and cheeses.” 

For some people, Thanksgiving has turned into a day to watch football. In comparison, children in Israel have huge water fights on Shavuot. 

Justin Blatchley, a 2019 nursing major graduate of UNW, also has some fun Thanksgiving traditions. Blatchley and his family find Thanksgiving “an important holiday to gather together.” Blatchley says, “During the time of Thanksgiving, my family and I have lots of traditions, such as putting up the Christmas tree, mak[ing] a turkey and green bean casserole dinner with … sparkling grape juice, tak[ing] family photos and hav[ing] lots of snacks.”

While everyone celebrates this holiday a different way, hopefully everyone can get together with loved ones and show what they are thankful for.

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