More than Just Pumpkin Pie

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Along with Christmas, many would describe Thanksgiving as one of their favorite holidays. And really, what’s not to like? In most cases, students get off of school and get to feast with their family and friends. On top of that, the arrival of Thanksgiving means that Christmas and New Years are right around the corner. However, you may be surprised to find that similar celebrations occur around the world and have throughout history.

“[On] Thanksgiving weekend my mom and I go Christmas tree shopping…”
-Sydney Vander Velde, 10

During the times of Ancient Greece, there was an autumn festival that went on for three days, known as Thesmosphoria, in which the Goddess Demeter, the deity of grains, was honored. These days it seems that things haven’t changed.

Those in Ancient Egypt held a Spring Harvest dedicated to Min, the deity of vegetation and fertility. The day’s activities included a parade led by the Pharaoh, a feast, and music. One interesting aspect of the festival was the mass weeping of the farmers who believed that their grief would trick the spirit of the corn into thinking that the farmers didn’t want to cut the corn; thus the corn wouldn’t need to feel the need to take revenge on the farmers.

“Early on Thanksgiving morning, my brothers, sisters and I used to go over to our neighbor’s house and watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade on their COLOR TV!”
-Jeanne Rickert

In Rome, Cerelia is practiced on October 4th in order to present offerings of the harvest to Ceres, the Goddess of Corn. She is given the first fruits of the season and pigs. There are also parades, a grand feast, music and games.

In China, a three day festival called Chung Ch’ui is celebrated on the full moon of the eighth Chinese month. Small yellow moon cakes carved with a rabbit on the front are a specialty given to family and friends. During times in which the Chinese were surrounded by their enemies, women used to bake these cakes and hide secret messages inside to send to their imprisoned husbands.

“ My family and I go on hikes through various wood areas around Tosa. It’s usually pretty nice if it’s not obnoxiously cold!”
-Maggie Fuhrman, 10

It probably comes as no surprise that Canadians celebrate a similar celebration to an American Thanksgiving. Practiced on the second Monday of October, they take time to visit family and friends or enjoy the outdoors.

Although most of the Thanksgivings in Wauwatosa are similarly celebrated, many students of West practice their own unique traditions.

Reporter: Kaitlyn Hembrook