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Why Don’t Jehovah’s Witnesses Celebrate Thanksgiving?
Over the years, Thanksgiving has become synonymous with feasting, football, and family. But for Jehovah’s Witnesses, celebrating this holiday is not as automatic as it is for most others. There are a variety of reasons why Jehovah’s Witnesses do not observe Thanksgiving, from the day’s origin to the current cultural implications.
Firstly, the day has a controversial origin. It was traditionally celebrated as a day of thanksgiving to God, but many believe that the day was actually established to give thanks to the Native Americans for helping the Pilgrims survive their first winter in the New World.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are guided by their beliefs that only God should be thanked and celebrated. They are also guided by their belief that Christians should not imitate and honor the customs of others. These beliefs do not necessarily conflict with celebrating Thanksgiving, but they do limit the ways in which Witnesses can celebrate.
Moreover, many traditional Thanksgiving activities are not compatible with the beliefs and practices of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Most notably, Witnesses believe that drinking alcohol is considered a form of sin and is prohibited. As alcohol is usually served at Thanksgiving meals, this makes it difficult for Witnesses to fully participate in the celebration. Additionally, Witnesses do not partake in any activities related to astrology, paganism, or magic, which can often be found in Thanksgiving pageantry, music, and decorations.
Finally, the holiday has come to include many consumerist aspects, such as Black Friday shopping and elaborate meal preparations. Owing to the Witnesses’ beliefs in simplicity and avoiding excessive materialism, they do not usually participate in consumerism-focused activities like these.
So perhaps the next time you notice that one of your Jehovah’s Witness friends is not as into Thanksgiving as you are, remember that there are a variety of reasons for their decision. Their refusal to participate in this holiday does not mean that they are not thankful. On the contrary, Jehovah’s Witnesses are very thankful—just in a different way.