Global Thanksgivings

Abigail Salzhauer, Staff Writer

Rather than eating turkey, at Evan Wu’s (12) Thanksgiving, his family and friends come together for a potluck party with a Peking duck.

Wu’s family throws a party with many Chinese families, one of whom always makes a Peking duck, which is a  very difficult dish, Wu said. “It requires days of prep and lots of special equipment so we don’t have it often,” He said.

“[Peking duck] is served with a kind of Chinese BBQ sauce on small scallion pancakes with scallions and cucumbers, usually,” Wu explained. “We dip the super fatty skin in sugar and make soup with the bones,” he said.

Aside from the their main course, the party is a typical holiday celebration. Each family brings some food and even Wu makes some dishes, he said. “Last year I did pesto linguine and a potato gratin,” he said.

Similarly to Wu’s family, Ben Hu (12) also celebrates his Chinese heritage on Thanksgiving.

“When my parents immigrated from China to Philadelphia there wasn’t a large Asian community for them to be around so they started this tradition themselves,” Hu said. “My family celebrates Thanksgiving because we have a lot to be thankful for even though some of the history doesn’t apply to us,” Hu said. “They ate celebratory Chinese food.”

Now, every year, all the Chinese families in Hu’s area gather at one person’s house and have a duck instead of a turkey. “At my Thanksgiving there is no sitting around one table eating,” Hu said. “It’s basically a big party where we all know that we’re thankful.”

Since he’s not a turkey lover, Nick Potash (11) is lucky that his family celebrates Thanksgiving with Chinese food from the restaurant his cousins’ grandparents own.

“They are Chinese and own a Chinese restaurant so the only food they knew how to make for Thanksgiving is Chinese,” Potash said. “We eat ribs, dumplings, and all different types of Chinese food,” he said.

The tradition started before Potash was born and has always been a part of his life, Potash said. “We used to have a lot of people every year but as my cousins and I get older more of us go off to college so this year there won’t be as many people,” he said.

“I have never been a huge fan of turkey and I think Chinese food is awesome especially when it’s restaurant quality food, so I like that we have different food,” Potash said.

While Catherine Mignone (9) considers her family’s Thanksgiving celebration to be fairly typical with different “inserts” from her Italian heritage.

Mignone commemorates her family’s Italian heritage by starting their meal with a course of pasta, she said. After that, they have a turkey and other traditionally American Thanksgiving foods. “The big thing is the pasta. My grandma makes it with all of us. We also make tiramisu for dessert,” Mignone said. Mignone’s favorite dishes are the sweet potato with marshmallows which her cousin makes and the pumpkin pie, but the tortellini and tiramisu are special to her since they are specific to her family, she said.

“The traditions come mainly from Italy, where my dad’s side of the family is from,” she said. “Even though Thanksgiving is not really a holiday celebrated in Italy, when people come to America they adapt the existing holidays to their cultures,” Mignone said. “We put in little things from our culture into Thanksgiving

Receptionist in the Upper Division Office Olive Keegan grew up in Ireland where Thanksgiving is not celebrated. When she moved to America, she created her own thanksgiving traditions with her family. “We go to Church to give thanks for all the blessings we receive daily then we celebrate here with Turkey and all the trimmings,” Keegan said.