The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.


                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.

The People News
Special Report






Keeping With Tradition

by Alexandra Edwards

The United States of America, the greatest nation in the world. Prosperity was not handed on a silver platter, but earned through hardships, wars and poverty and for the fight for independence. America is unique because of its constitutional rights, a legacy left by our founding fathers. Everyday people all across the globe are waiting in line just for a chance to start a new life in this beautiful country. It is no wonder why other nations are envious of America's heritage, pride, patriotism and faith.

Almost every month on the American calendar there is a notable event or holiday. Elementary schools are usually the first to recognize many such occasions with teachers and students decorating the classrooms in order to teach and pass on traditions. Bright and colorful displays adorn the school walls for events like Valentines Day, Presidents Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Independence Day,  Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. 
Sometimes local merchants or restaurants have their shop windows painted depicting a holiday or event.

Alexandra Edwards

Over the past few years there has been concern that some of our more faith-based holidays

like Thanksgiving and Christmas are being played down by some of the large global  companies in order not to offend their non-Christian customers.

Thanksgiving Day which falls on the fourth Thursday of November, now often referred to as "Turkey Day," has become nothing more to the retail industry than "the official start to the holidays" which happens to fall the day before the biggest and busiest shopping day of the year. When in fact,  according to the International Council of Shopping centers, the day after Thank giving is not the busiest shopping day of the year. Their records disclose that "it is the Saturday before 'Christmas' when the last-minute shoppers hit the stores that make this day the busiest shopping day of the year." The day after Thanksgiving Day is considered only as one of the busiest days in terms of traffic due to media and advertising hype.

Thanksgiving Day is a wonderful tradition which has been passed down by American families for centuries. Originated by the Pilgrims in 1621, Thanksgiving ceremonies were reserved to thank

God for blessing the people with a bountiful harvest and plentiful crops. The pilgrims had invited their neighbors, native American Indians, to share a thanksgiving dinner. Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving that was to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring native Americans.

Thanksgiving Day has been celebrated ever since in the United States, usually as a family get together. A holiday which can take weeks of preparation, especially by the host, who

desperately wants everything to be just perfect for the great feast and family reunion. The Thanksgiving feast  typically consists of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potato, vegetables, cranberry sauce, and gravy, followed by pecan pie or pumpkin pie. A time where family can "come home" and once again sit around the table together, laugh and reminisce of times gone by and be thankful for all the many blessings. Many families start off the day watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade on television and end by watching football. Some play games,  all are precious family traditions that need to be preserved.

Christmas is another Christian based holiday some say is losing it's American traditions. For the past few years the word 'Christmas' seems to have been missing from people's greetings as well as our Christmas cards. Replaced instead with Happy Holidays, or Seasons Greetings. Christmas trees have become holiday trees, and Christmas Carols replaced with songs for the holidays.

Just recently it was reported  that one of  the sponsors of Chattanooga's Annual Grand Illuminations, the Chattanooga Downtown Partnership, had asked that the representation of the birth of Jesus Christ be eliminated from this year's event after receiving several complaints. The live nativity scene supplied by pastor Dr.Seton Tomyn of First Baptist Church, had been part of the Grand Illuminations ceremony since the 1980's.  Tomyn told the Chattanooga Times Free Press,

"I understand that everybody in society is overwhelmed with the challenge of

taking the Christmas out of Christmas, we just wanted to provide something. It was a great opportunity to share what we believe as the real meaning of Christmas."

Due to a flood of response to the media from angry citizens, a compromise was later met.

Some argue that because America is multi-cultural, all religions should be considered and that communities should not distinguish between one particular faith. For over 300 years America has inherited strong Christian heritage traditions passed down from family to family.  It is true that not all Americans are Christians but the majority have been brought up following American tradition, the Christian faith is still a strong bond binding Americans together. 

December 25th (Jesus' Birthday) has been a public holiday to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ for decades. Just as July 4th is to celebrate America's Independence. Christian or non-Christian like it or not,  it's still part of the American culture.

Watching small children in a nativity play at Christmas brings a lump to the throat and a tears of joy to the eyes of any parent or grandparent. Watching my  youngest grand daughter play the role of Mary will be embedded in my thoughts forever. Children singing "Away in a Manger," the sound of carols sung in a choir, feeling the Christmas spirit of goodwill, are all part of the Christmas tradition beloved by Americans.

For those who do not wish to celebrate the Christian Christmas holiday in the same way, there is absolutely no reason why they cannot volunteer to work over Christmas instead and give those Christians that are forced to work a chance to be home with their families.

It is up to the people of America to preserve these valuable and meaningful traditions.

Give thanks for your blessings on Thanksgiving Day and plan with your family and friends to have a truly wonderful, and Christian  Christmas.