In the following, my informant recounts how her family traditionally has Ham on Thanksgiving rather than the more traditional Turkey:
We always have Ham for Thanksgiving, always, I mean, yeah, its not a Thanksgiving without ham. Turkey? Not turkey. We’ll have some turkey, but we always have ham because my great, my grandma, or my Nana on my dad’s side, she cooked the best honey baked ham, oh my gosh, and um , we loved it when we were little, and, so each Thanksgiving she would make it for us, and we’d always have that.
The fact that my informant and her family continue to celebrate Thanksgiving with ham rather than turkey, even after, as she informed me, her grandmother, who made the ham, has died, shows that they do it in remembrance of her. My informant told me that for her family Thanksgiving is a way of not only celebrating the family currently there, but the family which either is absent or has died, and eating ham is a way of remembering not only her grandmother, but all the family members she once shared a Thanksgiving with.