Why Thanksgiving Matters

Thanksgiving, which started off as a Pilgrim celebration for good harvest back in 1621, is now an international holiday celebrated by people all over the world. It is a day on which families gather to have a merry time, feasting on delicious dishes and bonding with one another. Yet, while Thanksgiving is primarily about appreciating the harvest of fall, many who celebrate it do not live in an agrarian society. Why, then, do so many people celebrate Thanksgiving? Turns out, the very name of this holiday provides us with an answer. 

Thanksgiving, as the name itself indicates, is a day when people express gratitude. The purpose of this holiday stands in stark contrast to our increasingly materialistic society, where people tend to center their focus on what they don’t have instead of what they do have. This prevents them from cherishing the small yet priceless sources of happiness in their lives. Thanksgiving acts as a reminder of the plethora of things people should be thankful for. 

During our family’s annual Thanksgiving dinner last week, our family decided to take a moment to think about all that is good in our lives. With my eyes closed, I started listing things that I was grateful for: my family, our house, my friends, my health, and so on. That was when I realized there were so many things to love about life, despite the fear and uncertainty caused by the worldwide pandemic. This moment of epiphany reminded me once again that it’s the trivial things that make a difference, and now I consciously endeavor to see the good in all things. No wonder so many people celebrate Thanksgiving — it changes our outlook on life for the better.

by. Yuna Cho