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The Truth of Thanksgiving: Rethinking Customs

Thanksgiving is often celebrated as a beloved tradition in the rich tapestry of American culture, a time for abundant food and giving thanks.

With our team consisting of individuals from diverse Native and European backgrounds and strong connections to active Native families, the traditional Thanksgiving narrative becomes more complex as we delve into our own personal histories.

We must uncover the historical inaccuracies and recognize the long-standing injustices that tarnish this cultural event. It is important for modern American families to take responsibility and make changes for the better.

The traditional school curriculum often presents a peaceful meeting between Pilgrims and Native Americans, emphasizing unity and the spirit of sharing. However, this story conveniently overlooks the harsh colonization, involuntary relocations, and destructive consequences for indigenous communities.

The supposed feast shared between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag people in 1621 was far from the reality. The Wampanoag had already suffered greatly from European diseases, which had caused a significant decrease in their population. When the Pilgrims arrived, it set off a long history of broken treaties, land theft, and cultural erasure.

The way Thanksgiving is typically observed serves as a grim acknowledgement of the continued battle for fairness and acknowledgement experienced by indigenous communities throughout the United States.

The echoes of injustice persist across generations, and our continued Thanksgiving celebrations unwittingly contribute to the erasure of Native history. The time has come for us to reassess our traditions and address the unsettling truths that are hidden beneath the surface.

As you prepare to sit down to a meal of abundance, it's important to remember the history of stolen land and unkept promises that have led us to this moment.

Instead of cancelling Thanksgiving, let's use it as an opportunity to retell its story and bring its history into the right context. Recognize the past wrongs, learn about the real experiences of Native peoples, and take this opportunity to raise awareness and foster reconciliation. We have the option to acknowledge a day of thankfulness while also recognizing the struggles it brings for some.

Indeed, there are already other events held throughout the year to celebrate gratitude and harvest abundance. Come join us on a journey to explore different ways of celebrating Thanksgiving, as we delve into the rich traditions of paganism and discover alternative narratives for this holiday.

Mabon is one alternative option we have embraced as a community, as it is a pagan festival that honors the Autumn Equinox. Honoring the years natural cycles allows us to honor our own transformations.

Mabon is a time to show appreciation for the harvest, recognizing the plentiful gifts of the earth and giving thanks for the nourishment it gives us. By blending our diverse heritage, integrating Mabon into our customs has enabled us to truly embrace the natural rhythms and show reverence for the unity of all living beings.

Similar to Thanksgiving, Mabon focuses on the ideas of being thankful and celebrating abundance. Contrary to the oversimplified story of Pilgrims and Native Americans, Mabon promotes a more profound comprehension of the earth's cycles and the significance of coexisting in tune with nature. It gives us a chance to contemplate the blessings of the season and to give thanks for the plentiful harvest that nourishes us.

The pagan festival of Mabon is commonly observed around the time of the autumn equinox, usually occurring between September 21st an 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere.

The holiday of Mabon has its roots in Celtic traditions and represents a time when light and darkness are in perfect balance. The festival is a celebration of the harvest, expressing thankfulness for the bountiful produce of the earth and recognizing the changing seasons. During the Mabon festival, practitioners partake in rituals that honor the abundance, unity, and interconnectedness of nature.

The name of the festival comes from the Welsh deity Mabon ap Modron, who is linked to the harvest and the declining power of the sun.

As we immerse ourselves in the festivities of Mabon, we discover comfort in a celebration that resonates with our beliefs and allows us to truly express our gratitude. Our pagan family feels a strong connection to the symbolism of the harvest, the tradition of sharing seasonal foods, and the emphasis on community.

This change in viewpoint is not a denial of tradition, but a progression - a deliberate decision to recognize the intricacies of our heritage. Mabon serves as a connection point between our diverse Native heritage and pagan origins, providing a festival that embraces the spirit of thankfulness while avoiding the reinforcement of historical falsehoods.

As we strive to redefine traditions, we should embrace the diversity of our mixed Native and European lineages and seek out celebrations that truly reflect our evolving family values.

Mabon serves as an example of a festival that encourages us to reestablish our connection with the earth, show appreciation for the bountiful gifts it offers, and rejoice in the togetherness of our loved ones.

We should use Thanksgiving as a day of reflection, empathy, and a commitment to dismantling the systemic inequalities faced by indigenous communities, rather than perpetuating historical amnesia.

In summary, I urge not to discard the traditions, but to reimagine them with a thoughtful and informed approach. May Thanksgiving serve as a call to action, a time for reflection, and a pledge to address the wrongs that have scarred the past of this country.

Let's work together to create a future that embraces gratitude, truth, and justice, and respects the heritage of Native peoples instead of hiding it.

Transitioning from the traditional Thanksgiving feast to the imminent Winter Solstice celebration, let's embark on a journey that transcends stereotypical practices. As we prepare for the winter festivities, consider infusing the air with anticipation and intentionality. Swap conventional norms for a moment of reflection, recognizing the deeper significance of the changing seasons.

Picture evergreen branches adorning the space, embodying resilience in the face of winter's chill, or illuminate the surroundings with candles symbolizing the returning warmth of the sun. This shift invites a mindful pause, aligning our festivities with the cyclical rhythms of the Earth. In this transition, let's journey toward a more meaningful and spiritually resonant winter celebration.

If you're starting to explore pagan traditions and want to bring unity to your diverse family, our experienced pagan family life coaches at can offer valuable guidance.

Explore the nuances of cultural awareness, incorporate the depth of Sabbats into your festivities, and foster a genuine legacy. Schedule a session with our life coaches now and start a journey towards mindfulness, respect, and genuine connection within your unique family story. Start your path to a more significant and diverse celebration right here.

Attention exclusive blog readers! Enjoy $10 off your first consultation when you book before Thanksgiving.

Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?

  • 0%Yes! Turkey Day and Pie.

  • 0%Yes. Foot ball, dog shows and Macy's day parade.

  • 0%No. Native Family or Foreigner

  • 0%No. Reclaiming the tradition.

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