Hindi Language Blog

How do Desi’s Celebrate Thanksgiving. Posted by on Nov 22, 2021 in Culture, Food

Photo Courtesy: Nicole Herbert Dean

We are counting down the days to Thanksgiving – an annual वार्षिक American holiday every November. Americans give thanks on this day for many reasons कारणों. But the primary reason is to celebrate the commonly taught history कारणों of the first shared harvest between the Pilgrims and the Native Americans.

So what does Thanksgiving mean to those from the Indian subcontinent उपमहाद्वीप in 2021? Many Indians have moved to the United States over the last few decades दशक. They have come to work at large American companies such as Google and Microsoft. Or they come for a season काल to go to college. They have settled here with families and many have children who go to American schools.

The Indian diaspora प्रवासी loves to celebrate Thanksgiving. Why?

Many believe, that despite the controversies विवाद and conflicting versions of history surrounding the holiday, it is a day to offer thanks. This view was brought home especially विशेष रूप से during these last couple of years. Indians come from a collective society where they find meaning in gathering together. They are more inclined इच्छुक to gather together than be alone. Thanksgiving gives them the opportunity अवसर to do so without the constraints and obligations कर्तव्य of religion.

2020 Thanksgiving

Life became uncertain ढुलमुल, and with that, the urge to stay closer to home, family, and close friends became stronger मजबूत. In 2020, many chose to brave the outdoors and gather around campfires कैम्प फायर with food and coffee to prevent the spread of Covid. This year we see small gatherings and travel यात्रा back home planned.

Gathering around Food

Indian culture revolves घूमता around food! Thanksgiving resonates with the Indian community because much of the cultural exchanges are done around food. Walk into an Indian household, and you are invited to stay for a meal or at least tea and a snack. So naturally, Thanksgiving provides the opportunity अवसर to prepare traditional or Indian fusion Thanksgiving meals. We invited neighbors and friends to share in the experience.

Since क्योंकि the holiday is not a celebration उत्सव of any one religion, Indians of different backgrounds, whether Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Jain like to come together and celebrate this national holiday by eating together, watching football or movies and bonding with family and friends, in the true American spirit.

Indian Fusion Food

Many reputable सम्मानित Indian-born chefs create great fusion food for Thanksgiving. This is a chance for them to display creativity रचनात्मकता in taking a simple menu and adding a desi flair to it. For the daring of heart, and palate I may say, you can sample a Tandoori Turkey, spicy मसालेदार and sweet cranberry chutney, and green bean poriyal, not to mention masala potatoes. For dessert, Indian sweets are a must.

Uncomfortable Discussions

As with any gathering among Indians, history इतिहास, politics राजनीति, and other topics are also a must! Many around the table, discuss the history of Thanksgiving, with the newer generations choosing to not really acknowledge the commonly आमतौर पर known history of this holiday. Many feel the pressure to fit in with American society and therefore choose to celebrate Thanksgiving without much thought. But still, others, who have delved तल्लीन करना into its history and politics, choose to go ahead and celebrate being thankful for the opportunities that are present in America without much thought for its history.

After dinner activities

Some watch football games or choose to watch a Bollywood movie. Still, others play a game of carrom – a popular लोकप्रिय game from back home or cards and board games like Scrabble (think of why so many win the spelling bee!). All in all the Indian people have a great time integrating a truly American tradition into their lives and making it their own.





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About the Author: Nicole Herbert Dean

Language, Region and Culture Consultant to the Department of Defense and United States Military.