Thanksgiving Ritual


There are many rituals that society practices that are passed fromone generation to another. The practices have a lot of significancein the society and those who practice it get a sense of identity tothe community. In a family, they have symbolic meaning for themembers and they take up the responsibility of continued practice.Through rituals, communication becomes symbolic and the repetition ofthe activities facilitates learning the past becomes it becomesembedded in the present. An important ritual in the American societyis the Thanksgiving dinner (Day, 2014). It involves bringing themembers of the family together to share native food and acknowledgethe milestones achieved in the family.

The Thanksgiving ritual involves steps in its preparation. Due to thenature of the diverse economic occupations in the society, most ofthe family members reside in different parts of the nation. For themto attend the ritual they need a word in advance to make travelingplans. The thanksgiving ceremony takes place in the family’s nativehome and there is a requirement for all members to be present unlessunder the most restrictive conditions. The essence of the partyresults to temporary cancelling of schedules and appointments sincepeople want to be with their relatives (Day, 2014).

The next step involves preparing the foods and drinks. For mostfamilies, the turkey is the primary food made during the dayaccompanied by other native foods due to its iconic significance asan American dish. In the absence of turkey, other dishes like ham,goose, duck and other foods also form part of the main dish (Day,2014).. However, of much importance is not the food but thetogetherness that the ritual brings. Most of the times, dinner isserved in the early afternoon to give people a chance to eat and theninteract before sharing their experiences. In the American society,the Thanksgiving ritual involves reciting The Grace before servingthe meal. The host often leads in the prayer or he can appointsomeone to do it on his behalf.

Another important step that follows is the idealization of theprimary essence of the ritual. Traditionally a family Thanksgivingritual involved giving thanks to God for various things in thefamily. Therefore, each family has a unique set of reasons to offerthanks to God. Individuals also appreciate each other for theircontribution towards the family’s integration and the joy that theybring (Day, 2014). After the ritual, people reintegrate with tierdaily tasks taking with them the acquired new roles and identity inthe family.

The ritual helps families to manage changes that affect them likedistance barriers, losing touch with one another among others. Duringthe ritual, everybody tries to overcome these differences by findingtime to be with their families. The ritual is also a primary functionthat propagates a family’s culture (Day, 2014). The members whotake part own up the obligation and they continue practicing it evenwhen the parents are not there. It is also during such events thatpeople talk about their current lives and the challenges they may befacing and the family takes them collectively ad plans on how tooffer assistance.

In conclusion, the Thanksgiving ritual it strengthens the sense ofresponsibility of family members towards each other as well as astrong sense of belonging. It breaks the distance barrier and givespeople a chance to be together.


Day, R. (2014). Introduction to Family Processes. New YorkN.Y.: Routledge.