The Most Important American Holiday Is an Immigrant Story

My Thanksgiving Dinner Speech

The Most Important American Holiday Is an Immigrant Story

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  The food and time with friends and family are great, of course.  Hearing what the little ones are grateful for always warms my heart.  But it’s the story of Thanksgiving, and what it means to us, that makes it so special in our family.

400 years ago, the Pilgrims sailed for America with little more than a dream.  When they arrived, it was harder than they ever imagined.  Half of them died the first winter.  It was tough.  But with help from the locals, faith, and hard work, they learned how to survive, and eventually they prospered and starting building this great country.

Thanksgiving is about people from different backgrounds coming together, supporting each other, having the courage to do great things against difficult odds, then sharing the fruit of their labor.  Thanksgiving is what we do in our family every day—and for that I am very grateful.

The food itself is a symbol of this coming together.  Native American Turkey cooked in the English style.  Native American corn and beans mixed with English cream and thyme.   Native American cranberries with English sugar.  Native American pumpkins in an English pie.

I like to invite immigrant friends to our Thanksgiving feast.  I ask that they cook a dish in the style of their country, with the central ingredient being local American turkey or beans or squash, tomatoes or potatoes.

The pride of our table each year is Chinese-style Turkey pot-stickers that we all wrap together.  I don’t know how many other families have Turkey dumplings this night, but using immigrant cooking style on local bounty, what can be more traditionally American than that?

What is your family’s favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

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