What Religion Doesn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving 2024: Insightful Exploration

What Religion Doesn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving? I’ve researched for you and found that certain religious groups, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses and some Quakers, do not observe Thanksgiving, aligning with their beliefs and historical perspectives.

Key Takeaways

  • Thanksgiving is a cherished holiday for many, but not universally observed by all religions.
  • Religious beliefs and interpretations influence the observance of secular holidays like Thanksgiving.
  • The historical context of Thanksgiving contributes to differing stances on its celebration.

Religions and Groups Not Celebrating Thanksgiving

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Several religious groups and denominations have distinct views on Thanksgiving. I’ll cover the outlooks of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh-day Adventists, Quakers, and the Islamic community to understand why they may not partake in the celebrations.

Jehovah’s Witnesses and Thanksgiving

Jehovah’s Witnesses are known for their non-participation in holidays like Thanksgiving. They believe that such celebrations may have pagan origins or be in conflict with their understanding of biblical teachings. As a result, they do not celebrate Thanksgiving, adhering instead to a lifestyle that avoids holidays that they find are not in harmony with their religious teachings.

Seventh-day Adventists’ Perspective

Seventh-day Adventists often emphasize dietary laws and health, which can affect their participation in Thanksgiving. Historically, some Adventists choose not to celebrate this holiday because they focus on gratitude every day and may have concerns over the holiday’s history and gluttony sometimes associated with the feast. However, practices may vary among individuals.

Quakers’ Approach to Holidays

Quakers, or the Religious Society of Friends, generally believe that every day is a day of thanksgiving to God. According to their philosophy, setting aside one particular day for Thanksgiving implies that other days are not for giving thanks, a view they do not support. Therefore, traditional holiday celebrations like Thanksgiving are often not observed.

Islamic Views on Thanksgiving

The Islamic perspective on Thanksgiving can be diverse. Some Muslims may see the holiday as a cultural event and partake in it to give thanks, which aligns with the Islamic value of gratitude. Others, however, may choose not to celebrate because they prefer to focus on Islamic holidays and traditions and may not see the need to participate in a secular, nationally oriented-festivity.

Historical and Cultural Context

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In this section, I’ll explore Thanksgiving’s multifaceted history, from its inception to its impact on various cultural groups within America. It’s a story that intertwines festivity with historical controversy.

Origins of Thanksgiving in America

The historical roots of Thanksgiving trace back to 1621, when the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. It is often referred to as the First Thanksgiving. Central to this event were the Wampanoag people, who played a significant role in helping the Pilgrims survive their first year.

Native American Perspectives

For Native Americans, Thanksgiving brings to light the painful history of colonization and the impact it had on their ancestors. The traditional narrative that paints a harmonious picture of the First Thanksgiving often overlooks the subsequent suffering faced by Indigenous peoples due to European settlers.

Evolution of Thanksgiving as a National Holiday

The transformation of Thanksgiving into a national holiday came centuries after the first celebration. It was Sarah Josepha Hale, often called the “Mother of Thanksgiving,” who advocated for its national recognition. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln announced the formal establishment of Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the last Thursday of November.

Controversy and National Day of Mourning

While many in the United States view Thanksgiving as a time for gratitude and family gatherings, it is also a day of controversy for some. Since 1970, the National Day of Mourning has been observed by Native Americans and allies as a way to honor ancestors and recognize the struggles faced by Indigenous peoples. This day takes place simultaneously with Thanksgiving, illustrating the ongoing tensions between historical celebration and the remembrance of colonial injustices.

FAQ – What Religion Doesn’t Celebrate Thanksgiving

What are some alternatives to celebrating traditional Thanksgiving?

  • Friendsgiving: A gathering with friends to enjoy a meal together, often observed as an alternative or in addition to traditional family gatherings.
  • Harvest Festival: Celebrating the end of the harvest season with a focus on food, community, and gratitude for the earth’s bounty.
  • Day of Reflection: Using the day for personal reflection, meditation, or engaging in activities that promote personal well-being and gratitude.
  • Volunteering: Spending the day volunteering at local charities, shelters, or community organizations to give back to those in need.

Can I celebrate Native American Heritage Day instead?

Yes, Native American Heritage Day is observed on the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It’s a day to honor the rich cultures, traditions, and histories of Native American peoples. Attending events, educational programs, or supporting Native American businesses are meaningful ways to observe this day.

What is Friendsgiving, and how is it different from Thanksgiving?

Friendsgiving is a modern take on Thanksgiving, where friends come together to share a meal. It’s typically less formal and can be celebrated on a day other than Thanksgiving, allowing for more flexibility in observance and traditions.


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Martin Lange
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