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thanksgiving’m a huge fan of Thanksgiving. It’s probably the best holiday of the year for my family. It’s a chance for all of us to get together and either complain about one another or be grateful for one another—which sometimes is the same thing because who among us isn’t grateful to have someone listen to our nagging? But I also recognize there are some out there who are not too keen on certain traditional holidays, for obvious reasons. Columbus Day in some states has been renamed “Indigenous People’s Day” to recognize the native people who lived here before Europeans began to colonize the Americas. Also, Jews and Christmas are about as synonymous as America and Chinese New Year, which is not to suggest that we can’t celebrate one another’s multiculturalism: just because Christmas isn’t a Jewish holiday doesn’t mean Jews can’t celebrate with some very American-style festivities. After all, who doesn’t love getting presents?
 
thanksgivingMy point is that even though we may love our own culture’s traditional holidays, there’s always room for some alternative fun. And, in fact, finding new ways to celebrate the same old humdrum holiday may give us an opportunity to start new traditions. Scouring the internet trying to find alternative ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, I came across what turned out to be my favorite idea. Why not celebrate Thanksgiving by visiting a reenactment, or (as it were) maybe even a revision, of the original Thanksgiving dinner?
 
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f the internet is any indication, there are plenty of options out there for seeing people dress up and talk turkey. And who doesn’t love looking ridiculous and pretending like the first Thanksgiving meal was not just a preface to a long history of exploitation and cultural theft? Geez, history makes everything, even turkey, taste a little sadder.

If you want to see what a really traditional town would have looked like back then, go to Plimoth Plantation Museum in Plymouth, Mass. According to a review on their website, this is “History made real. I felt like I was actually back in the settlement time. The actors played their roles so well. They were cooking and eating and feeding the animals. It was a fully functioning village. The lessons learned were invaluable. I wish every school child could visit because it comes to life and history is made fun.” You can find out more at plimoth.org.
 
thanksgivingOf course, you may want your Thanksgiving reenactment to be less of a revision and—shall we say—more true to life… If that’s the case, check out this Huffington Post video from 2009 and start planning your kid’s next live theatrical show. Kids handing out smallpox blankets to Native Americans? Sheesh! Well, I guess it’s never too early to teach your child the historical truths about this country, no matter how depressing they may be.
 
Or, if you just want to have a regular old Thanksgiving celebration, check out this New York Times article from 2011 and do a little research to see what events are still ongoing. Happy Turkey Day, all!



www.Dishmag.com / Issue 197 - November 2017
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