Home Features The day of giving thanks: Latin American Thanksgiving

The day of giving thanks: Latin American Thanksgiving

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Orange fall leaves on an orange background with an illustration of a couple tangoing. Text: Thanksgiving
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In the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is a yearly celebration honoring the harvest of the previous year. This year, Thanksgiving falls on Nov. 24 and is a day of thanks for the bounty of the harvest and the prior year. On Thanksgiving, it’s traditional for families to get together and enjoy classic dishes like turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. 

¨Usually we make like the stereotypical like turkey, sweet potato puffs, and different thing like that. I think just normal potatoes or just a bunch of different kinds of foods, so it’s kind of all the basic things you would sort of see in a Thanksgiving special,” junior Emma Ivanov says. “We usually watch the Macy’s Day Parade all together before we go to town to my aunt’s house in Peoria.¨

Although Hispanic Americans and Latinos also celebrate Thanksgiving, these cultures are often left out of the conversation. As an American holiday, we should acknowledge the many cultures and traditions that people practice in our country on this day. 

According to Forbes, Spanish is spoken by more than 559 million people around the world, of the 559 million, 460 million are native speakers making Spanish the second largest population of native speakers. 

13% of the population of the United States speak Spanish at home, which also makes it the most common non-English language spoken. Mexico has the largest population of Spanish speakers and the second largest is the United States. 

Some families may share the same customs and dishes, while other families may observe the holiday in slightly different ways. Others may have games to play and other fun traditions they do every year when gathering around with family and friends. 

Most families serve turkey, rice, beans, mashed potatoes, and other traditional Thanksgiving dishes. In some Latin American families, they add ground beef, chorizo, bacon, and pieces of pork to their turkey. Additionally, they dance, play music, spend time with family, and give thanks. 

Everyone may have a different perspective on Thanksgiving, including unique associations with it or different traditions within their own families, all depending on their culture or religion. It is fascinating to see how different Latin Americans or Hispanic Americans celebrate these holidays because of the various traditions they embrace.

¨Thanksgiving for me is a day where you get to gather together, you know family reunion just to be grateful for what you have and stuff and be grateful for what you can get and just be grateful in general in life,¨ junior Gerardo Cuevas Valencia, who is Latino, says. ¨We gather, we have pozole, and turkey; sometimes if the weather is nice we do carne asada, but after that, we just blast music, have fun, drink, and eat. I usually go play soccer with my cousins but we usually have fun.”

Just because someone is Latino, though, doesn’t mean that their Thanksgiving celebration is any different. 

¨It’s just like a traditional Thanksgiving that anybody would have,¨ junior Eileen Pasillas, who is Latina, says. ¨My family gets together and we love to cook together and we eat and just hang out.¨

There is no right or wrong way to celebrate Thanksgiving; everyone celebrates it in their own way. There is also no specific culture or religion you have to be to celebrate this amazing holiday to gather around and to be around family. 

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Hello, my name is Alexa Cuevas and I'm currently a junior in high school. This year, I am the president of L.A.S.O. which is a Hispanic club with all of my good friends. It's basically about learning about the Hispanic culture, and we do many different activities and plan different events to do throughout the year involving the Hispanic culture.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I love hearing about the ways our community members celebrate cultural events. It’s great to compare similarities and learn new things. Thank you!

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