New Haven Italians learned about Thanksgiving from their children

Nov 25, 2021 386

BY: Frank Carrano

Thanksgiving, that quintessential American holiday, was not easily understood by the original group of Italian settlers who came from a place that had no comparable celebration. Easter and Christmas were easily transferable; everyone celebrated here in America just as they had in their native towns and villages. But Thanksgiving was connected to America’s origins and the story was unknown to new arrivals.

So the holiday was not really accepted until the children began to tell stories they had learned in school, of Pilgrims giving thanks for the land’s bounty. Even then, it was a traditional Italian meal that usually graced the Wooster Square Thanksgiving tables, remnants of which remain to this day, with second- and third-generation Italian Americans including a traditional antipasto to start the meal, which might also include a special pasta course such as lasagna. 

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