Reading through the Facebook statuses that talk about turkey comas, overindulgence, and leftovers, I find last year’s Thanksgiving post still stands.
“Happy Thanksgiving.” That is the traditional greeting for this holiday. I have noticed, however, that more and more people have switched to a less formal greeting. “Happy Turkey Day.” And Frume Sarah doesn’t approve.
Sure, it would be easy to dismiss this as further proof that Frume Sarah is just some old fogey and is resistant to change. But when it comes to Frume Sarah, nothing is EVER that straight-forward.
“Happy Turkey Day” focuses on the food. It completely removes the essential meaning of this day; to give thanks. Certainly the original celebrants of this festival were much more in tune with the religious intent of devoting a festival to giving thanks to God. Going back to the 1620’s, the early settlers of this country recognized their good fortune as being a direct result of God’s intervention. Whether completing a successful harvest or surviving a harsh winter, they showed their gratitude with a festival of thanksgiving.
Though observed with some regularity through the years, our modern Thanksgiving did not become a Federal holiday until 1863, by proclamation of President Abraham Lincoln. I imagine, though, that President Lincoln did not imagine football games, Black Friday, and national gluttony.
And that brings me to my problem with “Turkey Day.” I do not understand the need to eat to the point of discomfort. Like an other proper Jewish housewife, I DO know that the mere possibility of a houseful of guests and not enough food is enough to send any woman into a dither. But there is a tremendous difference between enough food and an amount that could easily feed an entire village.
There are so many hungry people in our country. And it makes me crazy to know the amount of excess food will be served. And how many people will joke about being in a turkey coma. And how 39.8 million people in this great nation go to bed hungry, including 14 million children. As a mother, I cannot imagine the pain of sending a child to bed without dinner…not knowing if there will be any way to make the following day end any differently.
In addition to enjoying plentiful food, family, football, and friends, please consider relieving some of the burden of those who live in hunger.
Chag HaHodaah Sameach — Happy Feast of Thanksgiving!