I LOVE this secular holiday time of year- Thanksgiving and Xmas and New Years
25 November 2016 at 10:03:51 AM
Have been pondering on how, at least for Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are some factors and origins that are connected with genocide or paganism. Everyone no doubt knows that Christmas is based on pagan celebrations that occurred in December, around the time of the winter solstice. What I hadn't read much about was that our generally accepted idea of what happened at Thanksgiving is also a myth. Alternet
One vehicle for taming history is various patriotic holidays, with Thanksgiving at the heart of U.S. myth-building. From an early age, we Americans hear a story about the hearty Pilgrims, whose search for freedom took them from England to Massachusetts. There, aided by the friendly Wampanoag Indians, they survived in a new and harsh environment, leading to a harvest feast in 1621 following the Pilgrims first winter.
Some aspects of the conventional story are 1 enough. But it's also 1 that by 1637 Massachusetts Gov. John Winthrop was proclaiming a thanksgiving for the successful massacre of hundreds of Pequot Indian men, women and children, part of the long and bloody process of opening up additional land to the English invaders. The pattern would repeat itself across the continent until between 95 and 99 percent of American Indians had been exterminated and the rest were left to assimilate into white society or die off on reservations, out of the view of polite society.
Simply put: Thanksgiving is the day when the dominant white culture (and, sadly, most of the rest of the non-white but non-indigenous population) celebrates the beginning of a genocide that was, in fact, blessed by the men we hold up as our heroic founding fathers.
And christmas, of course, in the US, is a secular based holiday, with totems such as the godlike Santa, giving presents, the druid-like Yule tree, etc.
It's funny. Commercialization is so intrinsically tied to the holiday here. I like to give gifts to those I love, but when it's tied to an obligatory spending holiday that quite often is overblown to the point of excess, it's easier to decide to gift at different times of the year. My particular choice is to make gifts or cook special treats, including pecan brittle, homemade caramels, marshmallows and cookies. This year I also got a spoon mold for crushing up peppermint candies for hot chocolate stirring.
At the same time, it's nice to have particular days to get together with one's friends and family. In our own home, we haven't had Thanksgiving for quite some time on that specific day, but usually get together sometime in the last part of November. Same thing for around xmas. Main reason is that most of our kin get time off and it's become exponentialy more difficult to gather everyone together. Add to that where there are obligations to one or more major family to juggle and I"m just glad to have ANY day that everybody can come. This year, it's particularly fragmented, so we'll all be getting together early in December.
Also, ever since I was little, my family has had black eyed peas and cornbread on New Years Day. My mom always insisted that we eat at least one spoonful. As an adult, having a great New Years buffet with greens, black eyed peas and hopping john has become a tradition. Even though I absolutely do not believe that eating black eyed peas will bring me luck all year, the act of eating them is comforting.
Overall, I like the idea that no matter how people see these holidays or spend them, we all have respect for others when and how these occasions are celebrated. I choose not to participate in events that are overtly religious, but those who choose to gloss over pagan christmas because they love the holiday are entitled to do so, as long as they keep government out of it. It's a warm, family and friends oriented time of year that I hope to enjoy for many years to come.