San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

A worthy holiday

By José Eduardo Helo

Thanksgiving is more than just a Gringo excuse to eat like there is no tomorrow. In reality, Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in multiple countries around the world. Some countries where it’s celebrated include Canada, the Netherlands, Liberia and the one we most commonly know, the United States. They don’t all celebrate on the same date. For example, in Canada, it is the second Monday in October, and in the United States it is the fourth Thursday in November. 

In the past, it was celebrated before and after the harvest cycle to give thanks for a good harvest. Nowadays, people celebrate to say thanks for every blessing in their life, like friends, family, a job, their health and security. 

In the United States, it is the common tradition to cook a turkey and have a big dinner with family. At the first Thanksgiving in 1621, in present-day Massachusetts, the Pilgrims had different types of food such as waterfowl, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkins, squash and, obviously, turkey. Over time, the other animals were neglected, but the turkey remained on the menu. Do you know why? The fact is there are lots of turkeys in the world, and they will never become extinct. Nowadays so many people in the U.S. celebrate this get-together that 45 million turkeys give their lives in honor of this holiday each year, which means Americans consume approximately 690 million pounds of turkey for the occasion!

In the United States, the holiday season begins with Halloween, followed by Thanksgiving and finishing with Christmas. It is not the same in Costa Rica. Here, we start thinking about Christmas the first days of October, because we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving. For this reason and for the fact that it’s a unique holiday of gratitude, I believe we should celebrate Thanksgiving here in Costa Rica.

Costa Rican José Eduardo Helo, 13, is a sixth-grader at Arandú School in Escazú. He lives in Sabana Norte.

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