Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Italian American Thanksgiving

I will start off by saying, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Thanksgiving a true American holiday and one of those holidays that were never quite 100% the traditional Americana. Growing up in my house as a first generation Italian American child, we definitely struggled with adopting American traditions, because my parents just weren't versed in the traditions as we know them today.

I remember being in elementary school and learning about the true story of the pilgrims and why Americans celebrated with a day off and a big turkey feast. My mother learned from our neighbors that you were supposed to buy a turkey and make all sorts of things like yams, cranberry, stuffing.. all things that are not really Italian. So, to assimilate and take on the American holiday, my mother cooked the turkey, made the stuffing and presented the cranberry. This was really foreign to my parents. Our Italian American Thanksgiving would consist of stuffed mushrooms, lasagna, pasta, olives and more a la Italiana menu.

Make no mistake we are all Americans, celebrating a great tradition but at the same time Thanksgiving became a combined holiday of traditions just so we as Italian Americans could relate to it as well. I would imagine other ethnic cultures have experienced this as well when originating parents or grandparents did not grow up in America; therefore having to learn the traditions of the American holidays. As I write this or sit at the table and prepare for the holiday meals, I often wonder do other Italian Americans feel this way..? Or is harder from a first generation perspective because we literally learn, assimilate and practice as we go? Food for thought? I'd love to hear your opinions and or thoughts.
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