What does Thanksgiving mean to you? It is true Thanksgiving is not a part of Latino traditions, so you may wonder if there is a reason to celebrate this event. You may even ask yourself if you should adapt to US customs and traditions just because you live in the United States. Before we can answer these questions, let us try to understand what this celebration is all about.

Thanksgiving is one of the most important traditions of the year. It was officially recognized in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed this national day as a day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent father who dwelleth in the heavens.” This day is celebrated the last Thursday in November.

The event that Americans call the “first Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the pilgrims after the first harvest in the New World in 1621. The New England colonists were accustomed to celebrating days of prayer, giving thanks to God for the blessings of a military victory or the end of a drought.
Beneath its origins, Thanksgiving is a celebration of family unity, introspection and balances. It is a time to show appreciation for the good that happens.  We also learn from the bad things that occur, we strengthen ourselves and become a more mature individual.  It teaches our children to show gratitude for the smaller things in life, and it gives us the chance to realize how lucky we are. It also reminds us of how far we’ve come and how much further we will go.

Yes! It is worth celebrating not just as a cultural adaptation, but also as a day that helps us to reflect and give thanks.

For these reasons and more, you can create your own traditions. Think about the positive actions and family integration you would like to repeat year by year. This should be something that brings culture to your family as a whole. 

You can also adjust your own Thanksgiving meal to your Latino origins. Use typical ingredients from your homeland, or even try a dish that represents who you are. Remember: Your culinary skills are an offering and a gift, and you would like to give thanks for it!

Try to include others in your new traditions. Let them feel they are part of the celebration and can contribute ideas for the celebration to achieve its purpose.

Remember: It does not matter what the calendar says! Each day is a great day to show thanks for what you have, the opportunities that come your way and the strength to face adversities.

Happy Thanksgiving!