This festival can be traced back to the time when the first European pilgrims travelled to North America, and befriended the native Indians there. This coming together was celebrated with a feast, and the tradition has carried on for the last two centuries or so.
However, there are several little ways in which people can appreciate and celebrate Thanksgiving as well. Metrolife speaks to a few Bangaloreans to find out more about the festival, and how they plan to celebrate it.
Anne Rosemary, the owner of a bakery, is of the opinion that Thanksgiving is a typically American festival. “The significance of this festival goes back to the time when the European pilgrims travelled to North America. They made friends with the Indians over there and to celebrate this occasion, a feast was held. Since wild turkey is one of the common animals in that region, that was part of the feast,” she says.
Susan Thomas, a property manager, adds to this by saying, “When the pilgrims reached North America, they disembarked, found a homestead and settled down. They also had a harvest. Thanksgiving is an opportunity to give thanks for all of that.”
The traditions associated with this festival, however, have changed over time. Today, not everyone celebrates Thanksgiving with the traditional stuffed turkey and cranberry sauce. Mary Thomas, who runs a charitable trust, is of the opinion that the connotations that the festival holds are completely different in this country, as compared to the manner in which it is celebrated in the West.
“For us, Thanksgiving is biblical. It’s just an opportunity to give thanks for all the mercies and blessings we’ve received,” she says. She adds that she doesn’t celebrate it in a ‘festive’ manner — rather, it is a simple occasion to be shared with close family members. “Whoever from my family is in town gets together, but it isn’t as though people come from outside just for this festival. We don’t have turkey and large lunches — that’s a very Americanised tradition,” she explains.
Susan Thomas, who shuttles between Bangalore and Canada — where she is currently based — each year, says that the Thanksgiving she celebrates back home in Canada is quite authentic. “We celebrate it in the second week of October, always on a Sunday. We have a huge meal, that the whole family gets together for. There’s always roast turkey, with lots of root vegetables, like yams and turnips,” she describes, adding, “it basically celebrates the fall and the harvest. It’s similar to Onam in that sense, which also gives thanks for the harvest.”
Susan may celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada, and she admits she’s never done so in Bangalore. In fact, many are of the opinion that the festival doesn’t hold much significance here. Anne Rosemary says, “Neither me nor my friends really celebrate Thanksgiving. It’s more an opportunity for greeting card companies to make money. I don’t think it’s very relevant here.”