Happy Turkey day! Or ham, or chicken, or tofu…whatever protein you choose (or perhaps non at all!). Thanksgiving often revolves around tradition, and it’s always wonderful to see how families around the country celebrate this holiday with their own, unique traditions. One family might gather around the table to a pasta-centric Italian spread, another’s might revolve around a Mediterranean-inspired meal, and yet another could be inspired by flavors from Asia. Since the majority of the people in this country come from families that immigrated here from somewhere else (mine included), it’s a beautiful thing to see us all embracing the traditions we have cultivated as Americans as well as continue to honor the traditions of our ancestors.
Sharing our own traditions with friends, coworkers and new family members, and learning about theirs, has become a wonderful part of this Thanksgiving holiday. I recently attended a potluck Thanksgiving-style dinner at a corporate office where I teach yoga with my coworkers from the health and fitness department. It was such a delicious meal, filled with laughter and numerous utterings of “yum!”. Each person brought a dish that was special to them: a meat and vegetable dish from the Philippines, ceviche from Mexico, sweet potato casserole from her mom’s recipe, cocoa beans from the Amazon, and so many more that were traditional dishes in each family, passed down for years. I brought a kale salad with roasted butternut squash, chickpeas and tahini dressing, and although it was not something traditional in my family, I decided to make it because I am starting my own traditions. As a single woman in New York City, I cook for myself often and therefore have created a lot of my own dishes and traditions around what makes me feel good and gives me comfort. I am proud to have contributed something that was also a huge hit (everyone wanted the recipe afterward!).
It doesn’t matter how we celebrate Thanksgiving, whether we’re alone, with a large family, or with a partner and your pet fish, what matters is that you take some time to acknowledge what is important to you and what kinds of traditions you want to continue. There is no “right” way to celebrate this holiday, and contrary to what I’ve heard, I don’t think you have to be American to enjoy it! It’s themes are universal: gratitude, love, togetherness (whether with others or with your most divine self) and joy. With those ingredients, you can’t go wrong, no matter what dish you make!
Stay tuned this week for a few tips on how to enjoy your Turkey day without getting too “stuffed”!
photo credit: <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/mtsofan/4785273938/”>MTSOfan</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/”>cc</a>