Does your school participate in Thanksgiving activities?'s Teacher Poll of the Week
Does your school participate in Thanksgiving activities?

View Results

A majority of teachers reported that their school participates in Thanksgiving activities. In fact, almost twice as many teachers responded "yes" as those who responded "no". This is very interesting given the fact that in another poll on this website when asked if their school allowed Halloween parties, a small majority of teachers reported a negative response.

What's the difference between Thanksgiving and Halloween? Why is Thanksgiving more accepted that Halloween? For most students, particularly those in lower grade levels, if asked to choose their favourite holiday of the two most would pick Halloween with no hesitation. However, students don't pay much attention to the history of the events. All they care about is that one involves large amounts of candy and the other doesn't.

Thanksgiving traditionally is a harvest festival that is held after harvest time and gives thanks for a bountiful harvest. In the United States the holiday is usually traced back to 1621 and Plymouth, Massachusetts and when we see depictions of this original festival the participants are dressed in pilgrim garb. When our society was more strongly tied to farming, celebrating harvest time was important. Thanksgiving has a very strong history in our country.

In contrast the origins of Halloween can be traced back to either Roman or Celtic festivals. There is no direct link to anything historical for us and because of that many people feel less inclined to celebrate it. There is also a connection in many people's minds between Halloween and anti-religious feelings, making it an even less popular holiday.

Many schools try to downplay Halloween just to keep the excitement at bay. Dressing up, staying up late and consuming large amounts of sugary candy is enough to put anyone over the top. Hyping up the event at school could prove to be a little too much. Thanksgiving involves less exciting pastimes and doesn't lead to complete anarchy in the classroom, making it a more logical choice for celebration.

The holidays are going to happen whether schools choose to celebrate them or not. With the historical connection we have to Thanksgiving it is nice to know that the majority of teachers spend some time on activities to celebrate the holiday.