AFRICANGLOBE – This is the time of year, African-Americans have automatically accepted these traditions because it has been handed down by generations. Both Thanksgiving and Christmas are national holidays, and Thanksgiving has been dedicated to family functions and people all over the country traveling to different destinations to enjoy the yearly event. Among these traditions are roasting turkeys accompanied with baked pumpkin pies.
There are two sides of this equation, and on one hand the corporations and on the other, consumers. We recognize that the major corporations receive the revenue from these traditions of the consumer’s penchant for spending even if is beyond their financial means. It appears that some African-Americans, who, can afford it the least, but spent the most and unfortunately, whom are recipients of self-imposed financial disaster. For the sake of monetary responsibility, it is time to reexamine the origin of these holidays and their traditions.
The Real Thanksgiving
Let’s began by examining Thanksgiving. Before the establishment of formal religions, many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits, which caused the crops to grow and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested, and they had to be destroyed, or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits. Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest with Thanksgiving ceremonies.
Much of America’s understanding of the early relationship between the Indian and the European is conveyed through the story of Thanksgiving. It proclaimed a holiday in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln, this fairy tale of a feast was allowed to exist in the American imagination pretty much untouched until 1970, the 350th anniversary of the landing of the Pilgrims.
That is when Frank B. James, president of the Federated Eastern Indian League, prepared a speech for a Plymouth banquet that exposed the Pilgrims for having committed, among other crimes, the robbery of the graves of the Wampanoags. He wrote:
“We welcomed you, the White man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.”
However, White Massachusetts officials told him he could not deliver such a speech and offered to write him another. Instead, James declined to speak, and on Thanksgiving Day hundreds of Indians from around the country came to protest. It was the first National Day of Mourning, a day to mark the losses Native Americans suffered as the early settlers prospered. This true story of “Thanksgiving” is what Whites did not want Mr. James to tell.
According to a single-paragraph account in the writings of one Pilgrim, a harvest feast did take place in Plymouth in 1621, probably in mid-October, but the Indians, who attended were not even invited. Though it later became known as ” Thanksgiving, ” the Pilgrims never called it that. And amidst the imagery of a picnic of interracial harmony is some of the most terrifying bloodshed in New World history.
The Pilgrim crop had failed miserably that year, but the agricultural expertise of the Indians had produced twenty acres of corn, without which the Pilgrims would have surely perished. The Indians often brought food to the Pilgrims, who came from England ridiculously unprepared to survive and hence relied almost exclusively on handouts from the overly generous Indians-thus making the Pilgrims the western hemisphere’s first class of welfare recipients.
The Pilgrims invited the Indian sachem Massasoit to their feast, and it was Massasoit, engaging in the tribal tradition of equal sharing, who then invited ninety or more of his brothers and sisters-to the annoyance of the 50 or so ungrateful Europeans. No turkey, cranberry sauce or pumpkin pie was served; they likely ate duck or geese, and the venison from the five deer brought by Massasoit. In fact, most, if not all, of the food was most likely brought and prepared by the Indians, whose 10, 000-year familiarity with the cuisine of the region had kept the Whites alive to that point.
The Pilgrims wore no black hats or buckled shoes-these were the silly inventions of artists hundreds of years since that time. These lower-class Englishmen wore brightly-colored clothing, with one of their church leaders recording among his possessions ” one pair of green drawers. ” Contrary to the fabricated lore of storytellers’ generations since, no Pilgrims prayed at the meal, and the supposed cheer and fellowship must have dissipated quickly once the Pilgrims brandished their weaponry in a primitive display of intimidation. What’s more, the Pilgrims consumed a good deal of home brew.
In fact, each Pilgrim drank at least a half-gallon of beer a day, which they preferred even to water. This daily inebriation led their governor, William Bradford, to comment on his people ” notorious sin, ” which included their ” drunkenness and unseemliness ” and rampant ” sodomy “. Harvest festivals and Thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians. Therefore, the celebration of Thanksgiving is not a new concept, and our focus dealt with American traditions.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt set Thanksgiving one week earlier. He wanted to help business by lengthening the shopping period before Christmas. Congress ruled that after 1941, the 4th Thursday in November would be a federal holiday.
What is Christmas?
Many people throughout the world celebrate during the time during the year that we label as Christmas. For the Christian, this is a special time during a year when the birth of Jesus Christ is celebrated or time to party. Christmas in America is just that ”Christmas in America. The celebration in is an eclectic holiday involving bits and pieces from many customs and many practices. Is Christmas a happy fiction? Something good for Christians and their families even though Jesus Christ was not really born on December 25? Alternatively, is there something sinister about Christmas, which few realize, but, which can do great damage if overlooked? Shiny new toys, colorful lights, festive decorations, a midnight visit from “ jolly old Saint Nick “, family and friends gathered for a lavish meal. What could be more family-friendly than a Christmas celebration?
For hundreds of millions across the Western world today, Christmas time is a family time. And it is especially a time of fun for children! Nativity plays, Christmas carols and waking up with great anticipation on Christmas morning, expecting to find gifts under the Christmas trees are childhood memories cherished by countless millions. With its candy and sweets, colors and lights, songs and stories and the gifts’ today’s Christmas traditions are designed to create powerful memories children will look back on fondly for the rest of their lives. Why would any parents choose to deprive their children of these memories? Ask yourself: if you knew Christmas was actually unhealthful for your children even hazardous to their spiritual health would you continue to observe it?