Giving Thanks to the Harvest Festival

We were Capitol citizens this Thanksgiving. Not that we all had a massive array of food and literally ate ourselves sick (though the amazing combination of Salted Caramel vodka and Apple Cider was introduced to us, so the threat was there…), but we Americans certainly don’t celebrate Thanksgiving the way that the Natives and the Pilgrims originally intended.

Damn you, Horn of Plenty!

In Panem, Thanksgiving actually still exists to some extent. And reading about it makes us feel like total jerks for gorging on stuffing and rolls all day this past Thursday:
“We always celebrate the Harvest Festival on the final day of the Victory Tour, but usually it means a meal at home or with a few friends if you can afford it.”

Essentially, that’s all Thanksgiving is. With the note from Katniss that many people affix brightly colored corn to their doors, we’re assured that Thanksgiving was just one American tradition that would. not. die. and based on its timing with the Victory Tour, it’s become closely tied with the indulgences of The Capitol. Even those with little to no money know that you should do everything you can to save up and indulge on this one day, the final day of the Victory Tour.

Oh Katniss! Have we somehow made life harder in District 12 by forcing the ideals of feasting on you hundreds (perhaps thousands) of years earlier? Did you spend extra long amounts of time in the woods in the autumns prior to your Reaping so your family could have enough food for a proper Harvest Festival? Was that ridiculous Capitol celebration our fault because of our tradition of chowing down followed by episodes of guilt (thus the whole purging thing, in extreme cases)? In part, we know we influence your Harvest Festival. But the gaudy elements were never our intention! We just use the day to get together with the people we love and eat some and generally feel good inside. Also, football. I personally find it very disappointing that you miss out on the football element.

And yet we still desperately want to make this…

One thing Katniss doesn’t address is the “thankfulness” element, which probably got lost through the years. That’s not surprising. We still talk a big game about thankfulness now, but it’s usually right in between trying not to rip an annoying relatives face off on Thanksgiving and nearly trampling someone for a game system on Black Friday that will later be resold on eBay for double the price. No wonder the holiday cheer element doesn’t stick around!

P.S. We’re Thankful for You… Several Days Later!
The Girl With The Pearl

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9 comments

  1. So true that Thanksgiving has become more of a getting overabundance rather than giving of thanks… not much of a legacy to leave to future generations.

    Perhaps we can believe that Peeta and Katniss begin their own ritual post-Panem. I’m pretty sure Haymitch will provide the beverages.

  2. I hadn’t thought of the connection between the Harvest Festival and Thanksgiving, but now that you mention it, I’m sure SC did mean for that to be in place.

    However, while I guess you meant to be witty with your slams against Thanksgiving: So I guess people like MY family, who actually do take a moment before our dinner to talk about things we’re thankful for, or the many people who actually *gasp* VOLUNTEERED to help others, just don’t count? Sure, many people just use the day as an excuse to overeat, and Black Friday always has its share of horror stories. (BTW, I didn’t even go shopping this Friday, so I guess I’m really a freak to you!).

    I live in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, and a lot of people were sincerely thankful last week that their power was back, or that their homes, while damaged, were still inhabitable. But I guess that just doesn’t count. Only the bad actors deserve blog recognition. That kind of attitude, ignoring the good people can do, and focusing on complaining about the bad, seems to be just as damaging to the “Thanksgiving spirit” as passing out in a carb coma or unleashing your inner gangsta at a Black Friday sale.

    1. Satsuma, it IS humor! You have a habit of taking every joke we make and freaking out over it. It is a generalization about a tiny piece human nature surrounding the holidays, not a personal insult to all Americans like you want to make it out to be. You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill, causing drama for the sake of drama.

      As someone who spent Thanksgiving volunteeing at a road race benefiting a local womens shelter, shared what I was thankful for with both my family and my fiance’s, and did not shop on Black Friday either, I KNOW that not all Americans are ungrateful. I also live in an area affected by the hurricane. Obviously I was not talking about everyone and even at that, it wasn’t meant to be taken completely serious. I find it pretty disturbing that your actually MAD that I didn’t turn around and recognize all the thankful Americans and seem to think I’m saying they don’t exist at all. But this isn’t elementary school, it’s a humor blog. Not everyone gets recognition all the time. If anything, I think many people are glad that we’re not poking fun at everyday people.

      We understand that you don’t really appreciate the humor aspect of the site as you very often take offense to our jokes and try to start arguments over them, but there is a line. Suggesting that my goal is to make Americans look bad and hate on everyone in the country is MOST DEFINITELY crossing that line.

  3. And to the “it’s just humor” defense I’m sure I’ll get; sorry, I just don’t find complaining to be funny at all. And I’m tired of how “American” seems to have turned into a quasi-insult, even in America itself! I’m not denying that many people DON’T celebrate Thanksgiving in the right way. But many DO, and I’m just getting sick and tired of people who do the right thing being ignored by those who wittily comment on the depravities of the age.

    And if we’re linking this to the THG: that principle, of showcasing the nasty people so we can be disgusted by, then laugh at them, is what a lot of reality TV is based on, isn’t it? Isn’t that the role the Careers, for the most part, wind up playing in the Games, as the designated bad guys who commit atrocities the TV watchers can be disgusted by? I’m sure a lot of Capitol citizens spend Hunger Games and Victory Tour time clucking about how barbaric and backwards the Districts are.

    Maybe I’m just naive, but I prefer to focus on looking for the good in people, much like Peeta does.

  4. I’m really sorry about my rant, feel free to delete it if you want. 😦 I was having a bad day, and even before I read your comment, I felt bad about my over-reaction). On further thought, I actually think that Suzanne Collins was likely making a comment about the “corruption” of Thanksgiving these days into more of a excuse to overindulge than about an actual day dedicated to being thankful. I just don’t think we’re quite as much there as some others might.

    I also think, along similar lines, that perhaps “Parcel Day”, in which the Victor’s district is supposed to get extra food supplies from the Capitol, is meant to be connected to “Boxing Day”? I don’t recall the exact time for this day, but I think from CF that it occurs in winter.

    Now, Boxing Day is not celebrated in the US, but is on Canada, the United Kingdom, and other British Commonwealth members. Boxing Day is the day after Christmas, and used to be one in which people “boxed” up food and other supplies and distributed it to the poor; some people consider it the origin of the “regifting” custom in which people take unwanted Christmas gifts and give them to someone else, donate them to charity, etc.

    However, from what I understand, modern-day Boxing Day has pretty much degenerated into the British equivalent of the American “Black Friday”, in which people rush out to the stores to take advantage of post-Christmas sales.

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