The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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American Thanksgiving goes international

By Natalie Hale

The walls of the Holladay Baptist Church echoed expressions of gratitude in many different languages on Friday as international students from the U celebrated Thanksgiving.

For many of the students, such as Kay Park, a senior in education from South Korea, this was an unexpected holiday.

“When I came here, I didn’t think that Americans cared about their families as much as we do in Korea. I was surprised and impressed by my roommates, who are traveling great distances to spend such a short amount of time just to be with their families,” Park said.

The crowd at the annual feast sponsored by the U’s Cross Culture Club expressed gratitude for the past year and sang traditional hymns. The story of Squanto, the pilgrims and the 90 American Indians who celebrated the first Thanksgiving was also told.

The large auditorium of the church was filled with tables–not one seat remained empty. More than 200 students and families with origins from all over the world gathered as an international family to learn and enjoy the history behind this American holiday.

The fourth Thursday of November was officially declared Thanksgiving Day by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 during the Civil War, as a reminder of the blessings we have been given, said Keith Phinney, the director of the Cross Culture Club at the U.

“I think that this is such a longstanding tradition that it is good for people to see where it originated from,” said Laura McCollum, a junior in biology.

A quiz was distributed to participants about the roots of the celebrated day. International students were encouraged to ask their American friends sitting at the tables for answers to the questions, many of which stumped them.

Volunteers distributed a traditional Thanksgiving meal for students to enjoy and included chopsticks for those who wanted to feel more at home.

“Many of the students have never celebrated this holiday before,” said Jen Chen, a junior in mechanical engineering and president of the Cross Culture Club. “We want them to be able to connect to the culture and experience this holiday that celebrates family and being thankful for all we have been given.”

“This year I am very grateful for my family and friends and being here to celebrate,” Park said. “I think that gathering together is very important.”

Participants in the Thanksgiving feast were encouraged to donate $2 for the meal. All of the money donated will be given to the Rescue Mission of Salt Lake.

The rescue mission provides food for people who are homeless, more than 1,200 of whom come to the shelter each year to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Kim Peterson

Kaori Endo and her husband Masashi Endo chose would rather use chopsticks to eat Thanksgiving dinner on Friday night at the Holladay Baptist Church.

Kim Peterson

Kay Park, a senior from South Korea, helps feasters get drinks at the Thanksgiving buffet on Friday night at the Holladay Baptist Church.

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