Thanksgiving in England

By Morgan Halane

One of the drawbacks I faced in studying abroad the fall semester was that Thanksgiving happens during that time.  Before I came here I knew that Thanksgiving was an American holiday and in England would probably be treated just as any other Thursday.  I was a little surprised that no one, apart from my American friends, even mentioned Thanksgiving.  Back home Thanksgiving is an important day, and people are given time off work and class in order to celebrate that day.  That was not at all the case here in Lancaster.  Classes were still in session, there were no Thanksgiving decorations to be found and, for me, I encountered no family members.  For the first time ever I spent Thanksgiving without my family.

Tables ready for Thanksgiving dinner

I was happy to find out that my college, Cartmel, would be hosting a Thanksgiving dinner for the American students.  I met up with three other friends in the dining area, and we were greeted by several American flags.  This wasn’t very surprising, seeing as Thanksgiving is an American holiday, and I thought it was a nice gesture even though back home most families probably don’t surround the Thanksgiving dinner table with American flags.

A colorful selection of foods

This brings me to the dinner itself.  For the most part the dinner was actually good, although my American friends and I all agreed that we would’ve eaten much, much more had we been back home.  Some of the staples were there: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.  There were also some unusual offerings for Thanksgiving, such as potato salad and coleslaw, foods I usually associate with barbecues rather than Thanksgiving dinner.  There was a wide selection of deserts available, although these got mixed reviews from our table.  My friends and I were joined by another American student who had spent several years in the U.S. Navy and was now doing his degree at Lancaster.  We had a lot of fun talking about all of the differences between England and the U.S. we’d all encountered so far.  Overall I was happy to get a taste of Thanksgiving here in England with other American friends even though I was far away from America and my family.

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