Background Information: Clarise is a second-year student at USC, and she grew up in Wisconsin. I interviewed her about her family’s Thanksgiving traditions, as she celebrates it with them every year.
Ankita: So what do you guys usually do, or like eat at Thanksgiving dinners?
Clarise: Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, gravy, corn, green beans… A lot of the usual Thanksgiving things.
Ankita: Do all families make like, similar things?
Clarise: Ya, I’d say similar things. I think certain families have their own like, familial traditions, like one of ours are these like mini cinnamon rolls? I dunno why, it has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, and we still make that. And we make pies, that’s a big Thanksgiving thing… My mom’s really into that, so.
Ankita: And who usually makes the food?
Clarise: Um, usually it’s just one aunt that cooks like, the main stuff, but then the other aunts and uncles that have like, specialty dishes, will bring those. So it’s kind of a collaborative effort.
Ankita: Have you ever helped make something?
Clarise: No, I’ve never helped…Actually, once, in the middle of summer, I was really craving Thanksgiving, and I was like 13 years old, so I was like, ‘Dad! We have to go to the grocery store!’ So like I looked up recipes for all the things that you make at Thanksgiving, and I made a whole dinner by myself.
Ankita: Wow, and did you call your whole family over too?
Clarise: Yeah! Cus I wanted it to resemble what we had at Thanksgiving time. So yeah, I made a turkey.
Ankita: Does your family get together often?
Clarise: No, it’s mostly holidays. Or like, birthdays or special occassions. But it’s like, super rare that we all hang out, like just cuz. Because you know, we all have like our own schedules and stuff.
Ankita: And do you guys ever talk about like… the origins of Thanksgiving, or like, why it’s celebrated or anything?
Clarise: No. It’s never acknowledged. We just do it, because it’s… very American, haha.
Thoughts: Thanksgiving is such a widely celebrated holiday among Americans, so it is interesting to me how it has evolved from it’s origins to becoming simply a time when families can get together, and students can go home for a week, to make food and eat together. I also enjoyed Clarise’s story about constructing her own faux-Thanksgiving. While all the traditions were adhered to, and she even invited her whole family over, it still was not technically Thanksgiving, as the date was not right. This shows that the timing itself is significant for holidays and festivals or celebrations.