2012 VIU Thanksgiving Lunch
Over 130 students, staff and faculty gathered in the Waples Mill Conference Room for VIU’s traditional Thanksgiving Lunch. The annual event was started in 2007 to introduce our international students to an integral part of American culture and make all of our students, staff and faculty feel at home.
VIU Vice-President Sue Ann Myers started off the event by sharing a little about the history of the holiday. Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States and Canada on the fourth Thursday of November (USA) and second Monday of October (Canada). While accounts of when and how the first Thanksgiving occurred vary, it is traditionally a holiday when people give thanks for the things they have. “Now, we give thanks, we eat a large meal and watch football,” Sue Ann laughed. Thanksgiving celebrations had varied in the different United States from the time of our Founding Fathers,until Abraham Lincoln made a proclamation that Thanksgiving was to be celebrated on the same day throughout the United States, de facto making it an official American holiday.
The VIU community enjoyed a traditional feast of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, corn and cranberry sauce with Apple and Pumpkin pies for dessert. Students, staff and faculty alike participated in a fun holiday craft, making outlines of their hands, coloring it with crayons and gluing on multi-colored feathers to make turkeys. Finally, everyone was treated to a great performance from one of our Mongolian students, Enkhbayar Bavaraa, who played guitar and sang a lovely rendition of What a Wonderful World.
Fun Thanksgiving and Turkey (the bird!) Facts:
- Every year, the President of the United States will select a turkey to “pardon.” This lucky bird does not get roasted and stuffed for a delicious meal but gets to enjoy the remainder of its life roaming freely on a farm.
- Lobster, rabbit, chicken, fish, squashes, beans, chestnuts, hickory nuts, onions, leeks, dried fruits, maple syrup and honey, radishes, cabbage, carrots, eggs, and goat cheese are thought to have made up what is generally acknowledged as the first Thanksgiving feast, held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621.
- Benjamin Franklin wanted to make the turkey the official bird of the United States.
- Magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale, of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” fame, had petitioned the American government for 40 years to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Her efforts got through to President Abraham Lincoln, who set the same date for the Thanksgiving celebration in an effort to unite the Northern and Southern states.
- While commercially-raised turkeys are flightless birds, in the wild, turkeys fly up to their nests at night and, when frightened, can reach flight-speeds of 55mph!
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, famous for its giant cartoon-character balloons, was started in 1924 by Macy’s employees, many of them first-generation immigrants. The parade was such a success, that it has continued every year except for 1942-44 (when balloon rubber was needed for World War II) and has become an important part of American culture. More than 44 million people watch it every Thanksgiving!
- A wild turkey’s field of vision ranged 270 degrees! Turkeys can also run as fast as 20 mph.