Decolonizing Holidays

Holidaysperpetuate mythologies. Some holidays might seem harmless and fun at first, but it’s important to question deeply. Ask, is this mythology harmful to anyone at all? What is being augmented and upheld in the mythologies; and what is being harmed or erased? Is the story being perpetuated healthy and truthful?

In America, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Columbus Day are being publicly reexamined. Even so, generations of schooling have reinforced tidy mythologies about American history that erase the genocidal harm done to Native American populations and culture. In examining these holidays, one must become willing to reeducate around them with a reparative understanding. First step is to stop perpetuating the myth; neutralize the wound. Second is to find the antidote; begin the healing process through new learning. Third might be to reinvent or lay it all down and start over. Fourth is to let go, and make room for new things to grow. 

Some Ethical Societies celebrate Thanksgiving time with a Stone Soup celebration. There are several versions of this European folk story, one of which is “Stone Soup” retold and illustrated by Jon J. Muth. The story is about hungry travelers who ask local villagers for food but no one is willing to feed them. So instead the travelers prepare a special soup by boiling stones and convincing the people to each share a small amount of their food in order to make a meal that everyone enjoys. The story teaches the value of sharing and the importance of teamwork. For a summary of the idea of a Stone Soup celebration and its association with Ethical Culture, you can visit: