As the myth goes, the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the English colonists and the Native Americans together after a successful season of crop. The meal cooked consisted of both, immigrant and indigenous ingredients which marks the essence of traditional Thanksgiving celebrations. Following this tradition, Thanksgiving is, perhaps, acknowledged as the holiday that can be embraced by immigrants, irrespective of their beliefs and origins.
Diversity can be one of the greatest strengths of a nation, if it’s respected and encouraged. United States has an age old history of immigrants coming to the “Land of opportunities” and bringing along their culture. With time, cultural flavors of immigrants in U.S. have beautifully merged with the indigenous to create harmony in the society. The binding factor between these two bridges is the children of immigrants who are either born in America or came here with their families. However, it is up to the parents to create a cohesive environment that smoothes the process of assimilation in society for their kids.
Immigrants can use Thanksgiving Day as an adhesive to bond two cultures and introduce their kids to new traditions. This is how immigrant parents can manage it:
Teach kids about importance of Thanksgiving
Before attending or preparing Thanksgiving dinner, explain your kids the history and purpose of this festive day. Make it sound interesting, so that kids will want to participate in the festivities. Parents can connect Thanksgiving to their immigration and the new life they have made in America. This will help children to understand the cultural aspect of this day.
Prepare a Thanksgiving meal at your place
Once you have settled in, you can invite over your neighbor for the Thanksgiving dinner. Prepare a meal, which a blend of traditional Thanksgiving dishes and ones from your country of origin. A renowned food writer, Monica Bhide and her husband are originally from India, but their children were born in America. Every year Monica cooks a Thanksgiving meal, which is reflection of her origin and the country she has adopted as her home. For her, Thanksgiving is about “family and gratitude”.
This way, children get to learn about two different cultures and appreciate the value of co-existance.
Achnowledge a Thanksgiving dinner invite
Do not waste an invite by a neighbor, friend or co-worker to attend Thanksgiving dinner at their place. This is the best moment to show your kids the beauty of co-existing with different cultures, which will help them to adjust in the new surroundings and culture. Encourage your kids to form new friendships, which will give them sense of belonging in a new country.