At this time many Pagans are overwhelmed with the American Holiday Season. It begins with Halloween (just passed) and includes Thanksgiving and Christmas. A lot of Pagans have mixed feelings about this time of year. It starts with Samhain, a Sabbat that others stole and made it into Halloween.
Next, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, which causes situations, in which I feel, as a Pagan, truly uncomfortable.
Although during my childhood, I was inundated with stories of Pilgrims sitting down and enjoying a meal with Native Americans, the real story is one of betrayal and Pilgrims’ self-righteousness. When we study the actual events, related in some truthful accounts, the Pilgrims deceived the Native Americans. They destroyed the Native peoples.
Consider Native American Jacqueline Keeler’s assessment that “Native Americans think of this official U.S. celebration [Thanksgiving, as the] survival of early arrivals in a European invasion that culminated in the death of 10 to 30 million native people.”
This Thanksgiving I will honor my own family and I will honor the Native People who reached out and helped strangers. The crops that the Pilgrims brought to this land couldn’t grow. So the Native Americans gave them food and taught them how to grow crops.
I will NOT be honoring the Pilgrims.
November is Native American Month. I will honor the Native Peoples of the Americas.
So what about the turkey and all the fixins’? I will still have the food but be mindful of where the food came from. As Jacqueline Keeler noted: “Since that initial sharing [“first Thanksgiving”], Native American food has spread around the world. Nearly 70 percent of all crops grown today were originally cultivated by Native American peoples. I sometimes wonder what they ate in Europe before they met us. Spaghetti without tomatoes? Meat and potatoes without potatoes? And at the “first Thanksgiving” the Wampanoags provided most of the food – and signed a treaty granting Pilgrims the right to the land at Plymouth, the real reason for the first Thanksgiving.”
So as we Pagans may feel squeezed by other people pushing Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas around us, let us find our personal things to honor during the holiday season. Honoring what is important to you is how you, as a Pagan, can triumph.
Make this time holy for your reasons.
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