In partnership with the USA Society, a grand Thanksgiving feast was hosted in the Global Lounge on Friday 19 November 2021.
A history of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is an American holiday that is celebrated every fourth Thursday of November. It originally dates back to when the English Puritans first came to Plymouth, Massachusetts. As these Pilgrims were not used to the harsh New England conditions, they struggled to survive. The local tribe named the Wampanoag tribe helped the Puritans with harvesting food and making shelter. In order to show gratitude to the native tribe, the Pilgrims hosted a feast. This was the first Thanksgiving.
‘It is also time to reflect on the darker history surrounding the holiday’
Thanksgiving is a day where we give thanks to those who have helped us in our lives and give back to the community, with volunteering being a big part. It is also a time to reflect on the darker history surrounding the holiday. Following the Puritan’s arrival into America, colonization began to grow, forcing the natives out of their land. The colonizers would brutally torture and murder those who refused to leave. At the same time, disease from Europe plagued the natives, killing many of the population. This side of Thanksgiving is not discussed enough, and it is important to include it, as it is a key part of American history.
The dinner at the Global Lounge began with a presentation given by the co-presidents of the USA Society, who spoke about the history of Thanksgiving. This included both the creation of Thanksgiving as well as the not so favorable parts.
‘It was my very first time to truly experience a Thanksgiving day’
Then, dinner was served! Massive thanks go to the Source Café at the University, for providing turkey – as well as a vegan wellington – for the main, and roasted potatoes, glazed carrots and red cabbage as a side. For dessert; a classic American Pumpkin Pie!
Games and activities
Throughout the night, past Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade clips were shown on the screens as well as American Football games. These programs are typically viewed throughout the day on Thanksgiving in the US.
‘The night was full of activities, food, and chatter. It was a great way to bring those interested in American culture together’
There was also a “What are you thankful for?” tree where people could write down what they feel grateful for and tape it to the ‘tree’, as well as a “’Pin the Gobbler on the Turkey’ game, which is similar to “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” but with a turkey instead!
The night was full of activities, food, and chatter. It was a great way for American international students, who aren’t able to celebrate at home, to sit down and share a Thanksgiving dinner with others. It’s also a great way to bring those interested in American culture together; Global Lounge volunteer photographer, Ke Li, said of the event: ‘it was my very first time to truly experience Thanksgiving day. I’m really thankful for the opportunity the Global Lounge provided to me, to have a such wonderful night to enjoy a different culture and delicious food.’
Blog by Nicole Walsh (of the USA Society), BSc Psychology in Education