In a proudly pluralistic country, Thanksgiving is the one national celebration that knits together the races, religions, regions, and raging appetites in one warm caloric embrace. And it is a distinctly New England holiday, from its origins in Plymouth to the jewel-red cranberries from local bogs. Mellow and glowing against a slate-coloured November afternoon, it may be the nationâ€™s most beloved holiday. Let us consider why.
No gifts. No Thanksgiving host expects any tribute. The bird. Turkey is a highly forgiving bird even for the amateur cook. Familiar fixinâ€™s. Sure, there are disputes over the meal: to baste or broast or brine; stuffing in the bird or out; chestnuts or cornbread; sweet potatoes plain or with marshmallows; pumpkin or apple or mince. Thursday. Since Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving in 1863 it has resisted being remade into one of those phony Monday holidays, thus increasing the chances of a four-day weekend. Non denominational.
The traditional blessing before the meal never feels forced or sectarian. The Thanksgiving â€œorphan.â€ This delightful tradition invites students, singles, or others who find themselves away from home to join the feast, defusing complex family dynamics and deepening the meaning of a day when everyone can share in the blessings of abundance.