In elementary school around Thanksgiving time, we would dress up as Pilgrims and Native Americans and sit down and have a meal. Because that’s what Thanksgiving was about right- that time when the Pilgrims invited the Native Americans to eat with them!* This was all kind of weird to me, especially since it culminated with us eating cornbread, a substance I didn’t understand (corn+bread=???).
We never actually did Thanksgiving at our place growing up because it just wasn’t something we did, y’know? It seemed like a tradition that most Pakistanis/Muslims I knew didn’t take part in back then. The only time we even tried anything was once during high school when my mom cooked a turkey during Thanksgiving. My mom is an excellent cook, Masha’Allah, but American style turkey wasn’t really her thing and we banned her from making turkey at home in the future.
Years after that, my older sister decided/was determined to make a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner for the family. It was “The Year My Sister Discovered Williams-Sonoma” so armed with all the paraphernalia needed to make everything the way it was supposed to be, my sister pulled it off, despite the hilarious declaration from my brother that he preferred mashed potatoes from a box.
Now we do have a turkey dinner on Thanksgiving the years my sister wants to do a dinner and that works for me.
A few Muslims have issues celebrating Thanksgiving but I have to be honest (and I say this without being a scholar of any kind), I don’t see the issue since I don’t think of it as a religious holiday and from what I understand from my Facebook news feed and from Twitter, a lot of Muslims in the U.S. don’t have a problem with it either and partake in some sort of Thanksgiving tradition.
Some arguments against the holiday say that we shouldn’t have just one day to give thanks, we should be thankful everyday. Well, a lot of us do try to be thankful everyday. We’re just trying to take advantage of the fact that everyone has a day off and there’s an abundance of halal turkey being sold at this time of year.
I have always been thankful for all that I have and that feeling has been amplified after coming back from Hajj in Saudi Arabia. I’m more grateful and thankful than ever for the incredibly blessed life I have. I take a lot for granted, like being able to take a hot shower whenever I want for example, and so I want to be more cognizant of how lucky I am to have these luxuries.
So this is me saying thanks – I’m really thankful for everything and everyone that I have in my life, will continue to be thankful for any blessings I receive in the future, and will InshAllah never become arrogant and become ungrateful. Hopefully, we can all remember to give thanks everyday without having a turkey meal around to remind us :)
One of my sister’s turkeys from a few years ago
*I get upset sometimes when I look back at that combined with the fact that we also learned how awesome it was when Columbus discovered America. I really hope kids these days aren’t taught like that anymore.