23.11.06

My classmate, Juan Quevedo-Bosch, was born in Cuba and is a resident of New York, where he works as an Anglican priest in a multicultural parish. He wrote the following, which I would like to share with all of you.

Thanksgiving is an American festival strongly embedded in the mythogenesis of American identity.... It is celebrated by a family dinner with a detailed and prescribed menu, the center piece of which is the roasted turkey and a number of other elements that reputedly were part of the first Thanksgiving dinner. This seder of American manifest destiny could not escape unnoticed by Hispanic pilgrims themselves and reappropriated. Thanksgiving was dropped, perhaps since thankfulness is hard to come by for the oppressed marginal and it was renamed El Dia del Pavo (The Day of the Turkey) rather seriously. Bemused, I asked what was this Dia del Pavo all about and heard this most interesting new mythology. When the American pilgrims fathers came they were ambushed by North American natives and if a nearby turkey had not sounded the alarm, they will have surely being exterminated. This pavo salvador (savior turkey) was rewarded then with becoming the pie de r├ęsistance for the day of the first pilgrims! Putting humor and amazement at their ingenuity aside, I notice the shift in roles of the North American Indian, from savior to attackers, and how the savior role is displaced to the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!