I was a high school freshman when America suffered the terrorist attacks on September 11th. I was not changed by this. I did not suddenly bust out my red, white and blue to show my support for the country. I didn't scream out, "God Bless America" at any given chance or stand for anthem in informal settings...well, until I was pressured. I didn't want to be patriotic autobot like the rest of the country.
It's not that I'm ungrateful for freedom of religion, that goes without saying. It's just that it wasn't necessarily cool to fly a flag until September 12th, 2001!
I like the fact that I was born in country that allows people to choose but I don't like living in America...at the end of the millennium and beyond yes, you're what you own (Jonathon Larson). Now. Don't get me started on materialism and debt.
I don't like how we came to be a nation. I don't like the stupid traditions we've established in so little time. I don't like the industrialization of food. I don't like that our food-centered traditions don't revolve around truly enjoying every delicious morsel and naming every flavor note our taste buds detect. On the contrary, our food centered traditions involve overeating mostly processed food.
Cake is a like a nonreligious communion. Everyone partakes of something that was once one big piece. If you don't eat any cake, that's like saying you don't care to celebrate or honor the reason the cake was baked. And it isn't seasonal either. There are reasons year-round to have cake: weddings, birthdays, retirements, graduations, et cetera and if you are hosting such a celebration, your guests will think you're terrible if a cake is not provided. And then there's the nights where someone bakes or buys a cake because they say, "I just felt like having cake."
Thanksgiving is the day we eat nothing until about 4pm and then gorge ourselves on a very specific set of foods that are supposed to represent the Fall harvest. However, we procured all of our ingredients from the grocery store and while they may have been in season, we COULD get them year round. In fact the canned pumpkin from which you baked your traditional pumpkin pie is not likely from this years' pumpkin harvest anyhow.
This was supposedly (I'm not a history buff) done in remembrance of the first meal the pilgrims and the people of "Native American" (I have a problem with that term) tribes shared together. Uh, yeah, because the Pilgrims didn't have dominion on the land nor did they plant anything earlier in the year. They didn't have anything to eat. What this shows me is how the people of the tribes, who lived on this land before the English came over to take it over and tell the indigenous people how bloody unsophisticated they were, decided to make peace with these white folks and feed them.
Okay so maybe we're on the right track when we call it Thanksgiving. It's about being thankful for what you have because it could be a lot worse. I'd like to suggest however, instead of eating "Fall Harvest" food with our families on Thanksgiving, we should give of our abundance to someone who doesn't have abundance but deserves it. Or if we're going to have a day focused on eating, why kill our bodies by knocking it out with one huge meal? I can imagine this land's natives eating until all they wanted to do was nap. I'm sure they ate like normal so they could have energy to dance around the fire later.
Another suggestion I have about new Thanksgiving traditions: teaching our children how to harvest. The fact that some people have to work for their food. They have to go out and catch their meat running through the field rather than picking it up frozen from the poultry section. What about learning WHERE the green beans came from, how the pumpkin grew, etc.
Christmas is quite another messed up holiday. It's not the day Jesus was born anyhow so why do we still exchange gifts? We should give gifts on Pentecost because that's when it was made available to receive the gift of holy spirit! That'd be a perfect time to teach children about the gift and all of its manifestations.
I would love to start a movement (at least within my own sphere of influence) of questioning our own traditions, especially the ones that revolve around food, and replacing them with ones that make more sense.