My Very Own Thanksgiving
By Yasmine Farah
Thanksgiving has always been my eldest sister’s favorite holiday. Her name is Asha, which means life or the beginning of a new hope. She has always been the pearl of our family’s eyes. She is the same sister who sponsored all of us to join her in her new beloved country of the U.S. of A. I was a little girl when I had the experience of Thanksgiving through Asha’s cooking. That year my mother and older siblings were scared of being part of a new country where the language and custom were foreign to them. They were also hopeful for a new beginning. Thanksgiving was the greatest introduction.
It was a time of the year when our entire family would all gather at Asha’s beautiful house in the suburb of Bedford, Massachusetts. In this moment our sense of smell and thoughts would be merged with the smell of the food. For that moment, the bearer of bad news, the television, would be turned off and we would all rejoice in each other’s company like any other family.
I would listen to their jokes and stories about Somalia. In those moments life just seemed so precious. One of my distant uncles who came to the U.S with us would annually utter “what is there to be thankful about, look at us, we are refugees” and the rest of the family would burst into laughter, he too would laugh.
When I became a teenager and I met my first Native American friend, it is the only family I knew who didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving Day. They taught me that so much blood had to be shed for some to feel Thankful. They considered those killed as their own kin hence for the sake of solidarity they never celebrated Thanksgiving. To them, Thanksgiving was a day of mourning.
I wanted to sympathize with my dear native friend. Asha was not surprised upon me telling her about my new discovered story of the birth of Thanksgiving. She simply said “I know”. People have their own individual story of why they celebrate Thanksgiving or why they don’t. My family celebrates Thanksgiving because for us, it is a moment to be Thankful for being together and alive. It is also a time when we utilize our energy into praying for peace in Somalia.
The value of life is in the moments that stay happily glued into our souls. Thanksgiving was my family’s greatest naturalization into the greatest country on God’s green earth.
We will be spending our Thanksgiving with our family. Around 30 people at my sister-in-law’s house. Lots of food and friendship.
Each Thanksgiving my husband, son and I spend half of the day with my husband’s family and half of the day with my family. We typically go to my mother’s house for lunch and feast on turkey and other typical Thanksgiving fare. After our meal, the men typically watch football while the women chat at the kitchen table. My husband’s family is much smaller than mine, so in the evening we will meet for a quaint and quiet meal, and engage in stimulating conversation with his grandparents and mother. I am excited for this holiday season, and always treasure the memories we make with our family and friends.
Andrea Magaña Lewis, PPO, Ohio Latino Affairs Commission
I will be spending the Thanksgiving Day with family at home doing the normal tradition of eating and drinking then later go out to friends that invited me.
Biodun Ogunjobi, Writer
I am happy to share. Although I don’t “formally” celebrate Thanksgiving, I do enjoy spending the early part of the day in service to others and I typically volunteer in the morning (if I don’t make the trek back to Philadelphia) and I spend time with friends and family eating a big meal in the early evening. I am very grateful for all I have and I love eating with family, but nothing feels better than serving others.
Malik Moore, ED, YMCA, Central Ohio
I will be spending Thanksgiving at the restaurant with friends and family. The restaurant will stay open for a while and close early.
Esther Ajiboye, Owner, Intercontinental Restaurant, Columbus OH