Students partake in different Thanksgiving traditions


Joshua Dardashti, Avery Park, Mae Cohen, Kate Lewis, Jessica Smiler, Nicole Zokaim, Charlie McDermott, Kate Kotlyar and Jennifer Li celebrate Friendsgiving with a potluck. Photo credit: Kevin Manavi


Defne Onal managing editor 

Kaylen Wi staff writer 

Imagine a Thanksgiving spread filled with kimchi, empanadas and kebab. This is a reality for many students because they celebrate Thanksgiving differently, either due to their culture, race, religion or simply because they want to. 

Sophomore Jacob Shayefar usually celebrates Thanksgiving by “having family lunch with a turkey.” However, because he comes from a Jewish background, there are certain dietary restrictions his family follows. 

“I know a lot of people have dishes such as pies and mac and cheese. Thing is, a lot of that stuff has milk in it. So, we can’t have any of that. We don’t have as big a meal as many others probably do,” Shayefar said. 

Other students, such as junior Sima Arslan, prefer to celebrate Thanksgiving in a  different way. Arslan celebrates the holiday by having “stuffed Turkish dolma and baklava” instead of the standard turkey and pumpkin pie. 

“Thanksgiving is like celebrating Eid twice. It gives an opportunity to sit around the dinner table and interact with family,” Arslan said. “My family and I just use Thanksgiving to rejoice and celebrate eachother with food.” 

Similarly, senior Karely Molina shares this sentiment since the traditional American Thanksgiving dinner was never a “normal” occurrence for her. 

“I’m Hispanic. I celebrated Thanksgiving and the holidays a little differently than a lot of my friends did growing up,” Molina said. “So, after Thanksgiving, everyone came back to school like, ‘Oh, my God, I had the best mac and cheese.’ And well, I had tamales.” 

Another way students decided to celebrate Thanksgiving was through a  “Friendsgiving.” Molina celebrated Friendsgiving and thought it was “really nice to switch it up” with her friends.  

“It is more satisfying to celebrate Thanksgiving with friends. I think mainly because you’re not really forced to talk with people that you don’t really have a close bond with. If you’re not that close with your cousins or your uncles and aunts, it’s kind of awkward to talk with them. With your friends, those are the people you choose to hang out with. So obviously, you’re a little bit more comfortable,” Molina said. 

Arslan enjoys Thanksgiving because of all the different Thanksgiving traditions she sees around her, as “so many people from different places” have a unique way of celebrating the holiday, both with friends and with family.

“The Thanksgiving food may look different, but the meaning stays the same.”