As if celebrating the holidays during the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t already feel off-putting, acknowledging the problematic history behind it makes the Grinch seem reasonable.
The magic behind holidays disappears when we educate ourselves on the often gruesome history behind our once favorite traditions. Facing reality is better than ignoring the harsh truths that hide behind these heavily glamorized and commercialized rituals.
America’s history is taught through omissions, half-truths and perspectives that lack diversity. The textbooks that students are forced to read in grade school fail to tell history in an unbiased manner.
In this year’s social climate where society has come into a sense of self-awareness and political correctness, many people are looking deeper into things they align with.
Thanksgiving? No thanks.
Sitting down at the dinner table for Thanksgiving is all turkey and gravy until you scroll through social media and remember that Native Americans are hurting at the cost of this colonizer-glorifying holiday.
Thanksgiving, on the surface, is a day where people eat feasts with their loved ones while acknowledging what they are thankful for. Unknowingly, Americans celebrate the genocide that Native Americans suffered at the hands of settlers in the 1600s.
While Americans sit down at their dinner tables, Native Americans take part in the National Day of Mourning, the counter-event to Thanksgiving. Celebrating can feel tone-deaf as other people are suffering under the same events.
Reparations for Native Americans are well overdue and the decrease of Columbus Day celebrations are the direct result of modern-day Americans recognizing the truth. The celebration of Indigenous People’s Day in replacement is a step in the right direction to remember history based on actual events.
Recently, America has been very proactive about correcting its wrongs and acknowledging its past. The acknowledgment of holidays such as Juneteenth after tensions in America surrounding Black Lives Matter and police brutality is one step in recognizing what truly matters.
You can’t take Christ out of Christmas.
Celebrating Christmas while not believing in Christianity is like going to Coachella and hating live music. You’re just there for the good vibes and food.
To some who may not be religious, the unsettling part about these festivities is the deeply religious roots in holidays like Christmas. Traditions such as Christmas Eve Mass and the sprinkles of religious ideology throughout the holidays can make the holidays difficult to fully enjoy.
Religion isn’t always a safe space for people. For folks who feel as though they have no space in religion, celebrating things that go against who they are as a person doesn’t sit well.
While there has been a secularization of Christmas in order to be inclusive to people in all walks of life, it’s difficult to avoid the religious aspects in the traditions. As for federal holidays, Americans are somewhat forced into participating in something that they don’t align with due to the fact that American culture shoves the holiday down our throats.
Secularization in Christmas also exposes how much of a cash grab the holiday has become. Christmas time has become consumer-based, contrasting to the religious aspects and veering far from the holiday’s original intent.
While we want to celebrate these holidays with our loved ones, it’s crucial that we remember the history and true origins of these holidays and reflect on these traditions if we are contributing to upholding history.
As more Americans wake up from their Thanksgiving food comas, we can all be more aware of what lifestyles we subscribe to. Breaking tradition is worth it if the tradition is built on hate and violence.