Thanksgiving Traditions

Seven days shalt thou keep a solemn feast unto the LORD thy God in the place which the LORD shall choose: because the LORD thy God shall bless thee in all thine increase, and in all the works of thine hands, therefore thou shalt surely rejoice. Deuteronomy 16:15

For the coming holiday, I thought it would be fun to share some interesting facts about Thanksgiving. For example, although Thanksgiving is often described as an American holiday, its roots can be traced back to the Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese. And it doesn’t stop there.

For centuries, Israel has celebrated a harvest festival. It’s a time set aside for rejoicing and giving thanks for God’s blessings throughout the year. The holiday Sukkot, or the Feast of Tabernacles, commemorates the 40 years in the wilderness after the deliverance from Eygpt. Today, Sukkot begins five days after Yom Kippur and last for eight days. During this time, the people build small huts and hang fruits and vegetables inside. These harvest-filled huts reminded me of a cornucopia.

Cornucopia

cornucopia-1789664_1280The cornucopia is a horned shaped basket filled to the brim with grains, vegetables, and fruits. Its roots can also be traced back to the Greeks and Romans. Cornucopia means horn of plenty from the Latin term cornu copiae. To those searching for freedom in the new land, the cornucopia became the symbol of America, the land of plenty.

Turkeys

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Another famous symbol of the holiday is the turkey. Ben Franklin thought the turkey to be a bird of courage, unlike the eagle, a bird of bad morals. (Read the article here.) Whether the turkey is a courageous bird or not, its popularity is linked to the Thanksgiving holiday. And while the sides depend on family favorites, the turkey is always the main attraction. Unless your family doesn’t like turkey. Oh, my! What to do, then?

To Turkey or Not To Turkey

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The truth is traditions surrounding this autumnal feast can vary from house to house. As children, my husband and I both ate turkey. It didn’t matter whether we liked it or not. Our moms were traditionalists. On Thanksgiving, you ate turkey. Period. But when my kids came along, we changed that tradition after we’d cooked the traditional bird every imaginable way known to man. Fried, baked, roasted, or barbecued, they still refused to eat it. Now, we have chicken and dressing along with the “must have” side dishes.

Must Have Side Dishes

  • Cornbread Dressing
  • Green Bean Casserole
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Gravy
  • Pecan Pie
  • Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecan Topping
  • Grape Salad (Recipe below.)
  • Sweet Iced Tea

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Grape Salad

  • 4 lbs seedless grapes, halved
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 brick cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Blend brown sugar, softened cream cheese, and condensed milk with mixer until smooth. Combine grapes and pecans. Pour in a lidded bowl. Chill. Serve. Enjoy!

Note: The amount of fruit used is according to individual taste. I prefer fewer grapes for a creamier salad. Pssst…the fruit is just an excuse for me to eat the brown sugar and condensed milk. 🙂

Reflection

No matter how you celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, grab your neighbor’s hand and gives thanks for His bountiful blessings!

Are you a traditionalist? What is on your list for must-have side dishes

Pictures courtesy of Pixabay. Public Domain.

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Giving Thanks

I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving. Psalm 69:30

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During this holiday season remember the important things. When the family arrives, peer deeply into their eyes. Listen intently. Hug gently and lovingly. Laugh with all your might. Make a memory. And finally, give the Lord praise for all the blessings!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gail