Sunday, December 05, 2010


by Carl Mattias

When I went to Target a couple of weeks ago I found it quite weird that they already had begun to put up Christmas trees and decorations. Christmas is still so far away, right? Especially since it's Thanksgiving before Christmas. What I didn't really reflect upon is the fact that Thanksgiving actually is quite close to Christmas!
That's something I learned about myself recently: I tend measure how much time there is until something by the events preceding it. In other words, if it weren't for the Thanksgiving celebration (and all of my final exams) Christmas wouldn't be that far away!
If I'm rational about it Christmas is only about two weeks away, meaning I'll soon return to Sweden again (fear not! I will be back for J-term!), in extension that means that I've almost already been in the US for one whole term! Time sure flies fast!

With my (temporary) homecoming so close-at-hand I though this would be a good time to write about Swedish and American traditions.
I really hadn't thought that much about traditions before coming to the US. It was just some time during the year me and my relatives would do something together. Almost the same every year. This year though, I learned that Christmas back home was going to be a little different than it used to be, something that, to my surprise, I got a little upset about. Something inside me was saying why can't it be the way it always have been?
So I guess that's what I really think about traditions, some time a year when I and my relatives do what we always do, milestones in our lives to measure to distance and the time that have passed. This year though, I got to experience a new "milestone" Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a simple and interesting tradition. Put simply (in the eyes of a Swede) the American people meet with their family and relatives in order to think back and give thanks for what they are thankful for. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated when the first settlers in America, after having almost no food and worrying about how to survive the winter, got food (corn, turkey etc) from the Indians. The Thanksgiving today is a remembrance of that time and has also come to be a thanksgiving to God. (the opposite of Christmas in other words, since Christmas begun with celebrating the birth of Christ, and nowadays is mostly about giving and receiving gifts, for most people). Of course Thanksgiving is not without some connection to earthly possessions, something I got to experience on "Black Friday" the day after Thanksgiving. I got up quite late in comparison to most (only at 5 a.m.!) and managed to only buy things I "need" (honest!). Black Friday was a black Friday in more than one aspect though, since I also got some very bad new about some of my friends and former classmates back in Sweden. Another milestone on some people's lives...

Aside from that I had a very pleasant Thanksgiving and I'm especially thankful to the families that gave me not only one but two (!) Thanksgiving dinners and to my friend from Sweden who came to visit and share this milestone with me!


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