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Give thanks

Immigrants' Contributions to Thanksgiving

Give Thanks to Immigrants’ Contributions to Thanksgiving

Every November, people around America celebrate Thanksgiving by gathering with family and friends, watching or attending parades, and sharing appreciation for all they are thankful for.

Americans can be thankful for the contributions of immigrants to many aspects of the holiday that would not exist were it not for immigration.

Let’s look at some of the contributions immigrants have made to Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Owes Its Existence to Immigrants

Thanksgiving would not exist as a holiday in the United States if it were not for immigrants.

There is some debate as to whether the first Thanksgiving occurred in Plymouth in 1621 or St. Augustine in 1565. Regardless of which event truly marked the initial gathering that served as the precursor to the modern-day Thanksgiving, neither would have occurred were it not for native people and newcomers to the land coming together for a feast.

Thus, Thanksgiving is rooted in welcoming immigrants to another’s homeland.

The creation of the modern version of Thanksgiving provided further weight to the impact of immigrants, as the American Civil War and the immigration boom of the 1800s was instrumental in its formation.

At this time, President Abraham Lincoln urged Americans to celebrate Thanksgiving to foster a spirit of togetherness even as the country was at war. His recommendation also encouraged cultural leaders to use the holiday to further welcome immigrants to America.[1]

Most Food Served at Thanksgiving Dinners Came From Immigrants

Not only did immigrants play an essential role in establishing Thanksgiving as a holiday, but they were also responsible for contributing many of the dishes traditionally served during the meals to celebrate this holiday.

The main course of Thanksgiving dinner is often turkey. Centering a meal around a sizeable cooked bird in this fashion is a tradition traced back to English immigrants.

Many sides owe their place at Thanksgiving feasts to immigrants. For example, sweet potato casserole is native to Central and South America but is commonly found at Thanksgiving dinners. Additionally, mashed potatoes came to the U.S. from the United Kingdom in the mid-1700s, various stuffing recipes came from many Europe countries, and tamales, hailing from Latin America, are becoming more common at Thanksgiving dinners in the U.S.

Those who make it to dessert will find some additional immigrant influences on food. The English creation of pie is a staple at many American Thanksgiving meals. Different versions of these pastries can be traced back to various countries throughout the world, including pumpkin (English), pecan (French), and apple (English and Dutch).

Immigrants Are Why We Have Food on the Table

Not only have immigrants influenced the type of foods that Americans have on the table at Thanksgiving, but they also play a considerable role in assuring that it winds up there.

So when you are enjoying green bean casserole this Thanksgiving, remember that 73 percent of all farmworkers in the U.S. are immigrants. And as you bite into a dinner roll, be thankful for the six million workers in the U.S. who are employed by an immigrant-owned business.

Without a doubt, migrant workers across America have toiled for long hours to help produce and ship the food you will enjoy this Thanksgiving.

Visa Business Plans is Thankful for Immigrants

Here at Visa Business Plans, we are thankful for immigrants and recognize their remarkable and ongoing contributions to the U.S. We are honored to help immigrants reach their goals and start businesses while creating better lives for their families and enriching the culture in America.

If you are thinking about starting a business in the U.S., growing your existing operation, or applying for a loan, we can help! Call us today to learn more.

Visa Business Plans is led by Marco Scanu, a certified coach from the University of Miami with a globally-based practice coaching Fortune 1000 company executives, entrepreneurs, as well as professionals in 4 different continents. Mr. Scanu advises clients on turnaround strategies and crisis management.

Mr. Scanu received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration (Cum Laude) from the University of Florida and an MBA in Management from Bocconi University in Milan, Italy. Mr. Scanu was also a Visiting Scholar at Michigan State University under the prestigious H. Humphrey Fellowship (Fulbright program) with a focus on Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital, and high-growth enterprises.

At present, Mr. Scanu is the managing partner and CEO at Visa Business Plans, a Miami-based boutique consulting firm providing attorneys and investors with business planning services in the areas of U.S. and Canadian immigration, SBA loans, and others.

[1] https://cliniclegal.org/stories/immigrant-origins-thanksgiving