Are new holidays brewing? You decide.


Juliette Ciullo

It’s beginning to look like Christmas… That’s right, the holiday season is on full blast, and that includes a myriad of celebration starting from November and ending in February. Year after year, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Year’s, and Valentine’s day become a source of dread or excitement, depending on the individual.
 The holiday landscape is transforming. In the past, holidays have been associated with long-standing traditions and values. Yet Friendsgiving and Galentine’s day are on the rise as new prominent celebrations, not associated with family or history. Younger generations are redefining why and what society celebrates.
Thanksgiving originated from a falsified idea of collaboration between the European pilgrims and Native Americans. Europeans colonizers systematically exploited and eradicated Native Americans and their culture. More often than not, their relations were hostile and deadly. Yet, children in elementary school often learn about this beautiful partnership between the two groups, all symbolized in one grand feast long ago.
No source can expressly agree on the when, who, and what of the first Thanksgiving, with various and questionable accounts of different settlers declaring one feast or another to be Thanksgiving. Some even disagree that the Native Americans were even included in the feast at all. However, people generally agree, according to, that Native Americans did teach the settlers life-saving hunting and harvesting techniques.
Many, mainly Native Americans, gather above Plymouth Rock at Cole Hill in Massachusetts to commemorate the frequent murders and mistreatment of native tribes. They refer to Thanksgiving as National Mourning Day.
Today, however, the truth behind Thanksgiving is mostly forgotten, though the holiday instead honors family, unity, and gratitude.
Friendsgiving counters the family-centered holiday by acknowledging the increasing role and importance of friendships in people’s lives. It’s vital to note that Friendsgiving in no way negates the commendable values behind traditional Thanksgiving, it just expands thanksgiving beyond its original meaning. Friendsgiving tends to take place the Thursday before or after Thanksgiving, and also tends to be a potluck gathering of friends. But since the holiday is born out of defiance, there are no set rules. For some, Friendsgiving is breaking the rules.
“Friendsgiving is a great time to celebrate a holiday, mostly known for getting together with family, with people who are closer to home in a less formal setting,” junior Ethan Heifetz said.
 In the past, society’s ultimate ideals were attaining a suburban home with a nuclear family. An impressive, business-oriented career was also desirable, for men at least. Though these are still prominent goals in American culture, younger generations have also searched for genuine platonic relationships.
Traditionally, friendship has been disregarded as a less essential part of one’s life, a fun yet insignificant accessory to the outfit people adorn. In recent years, friendship has become so much more than passing entertainment. It is a bond that ultimately enriches one’s self and life. It is the family that one chose. A platonic but everlasting love.
“I feel like everyone contributes to a nice dinner, it’s just really amazing to see,” junior Cadence Weiss said. “It shows the gratitude that my friends have for another because, on Thanksgiving, people are usually with their families. Now, people have the time to show their love and appreciation more than they already do for their friends.”
To appreciate how lucky one is to have supportive, meaningful friendships, Friendsgiving was formed. Though the origins of this holiday are also unclear, the first mention of the word was on Usenet and Twitter back in 2007.
According to the, “Over the last few years, Friendsgiving has grown in popularity,” Josh Criscoe, Venmo’s head of communications, wrote in an email. “There were more than 25,000 Friendsgiving payments on Venmo in November 2016, a 141 percent increase over November 2015.”
It seems that nearly everyone, including the students of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, is celebrating Friendsgiving.
Here’s to a happy turkey day!