Thanksgiving is known to be a time for families to come together and enjoy each other’s company as well as a bounty of delicious food.
Historically, it was meant to be a celebration of plenty and peace—the first gathering was between the famous Pilgrims who survived the first deadly winter in North America and their American Indian neighbors. However (according to the History Channel website), Thanksgiving itself was not truly a national holiday until the later 1800s, when Abraham Lincoln cemented it as such during the Civil War.
Nowadays, families celebrate Thanksgiving as a gathering of relatives and friends, to catch up with one another and (often) to eat an incredible amount of food—upset stomachs are common the day after, as are leftovers lasting for days.
Many people have their own specific traditions or routines that they follow—this writer’s own family watches the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and the National Dog Show every year.
“I basically just have…Friendsgiving” says Dr. Kelley Crowley.
“I usually celebrate it with my parents…”, senior Jessica Skye admits. “My dad will make the…turkey…my mom would make rice…I would also help out with making the mashed potatoes…We mainly spend…two to three hours…cooking…and then relax”.
Rebecca Whetzel also celebrates with loved ones. “Normally we have all of our family over…we have a big dinner with everybody”, she comments. “A lot of us, like, help cook the meal…We’ll all go hunting”.
“My family was gonna have this big get together…that’s typically what we do”, Double-Major Caitlyn Graulau states.
However, with the onslaught of COVID-19, many of the usual activities and gatherings typical of Thanksgiving simply will not be possible. Large groups of people have a higher risk of contracting and/or spreading the disease. This means that events that are continuing will be unable to do so as in previous years.
This pertains to the family gatherings of SU students, among others.
“We’re just gonna…keep it, like, with us”, says Rebecca. In order to negate the risk of spreading and/or contracting COVID-19, it is prudent for families to narrow down their gatherings for Thanksgiving.
While the results may affect how people celebrate the holiday, in the end the safety and health of all individuals is the more important issue.
Both Jessica and Caitlyn will also be adjusting their plans according to health concerns. As for Dr. Crowley’s plans: “We’re just gonna do a ton of baking”.
Due to the virus, Shenandoah is giving students the option of returning for the last few weeks or going online. Some students, like Jessica and Caitlyn, will be returning to attend classes. Rebecca is one of many that will be completing classes online.
Safety during the holidays is perhaps the most important issue as 2020 winds down. It may take some adjustment, but in the end the health of families and individuals is worth the changes to Thanksgiving (and other) celebrations.