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Thanksgiving celebrated across cultures in Hall County
Raquel Kallab

What do you have at your Thanksgiving dinner? What is your favorite dish during the holidays? Mashed potatoes? Turkey and ham? What about carne asada or tabbouleh?

Families from other cultures celebrate Thanksgiving with their own traditional foods.

Raquel Kallab, a ninth-grader at North Hall High School, said her family's traditional Lebanese dinner consists of a baba ghanoush, a dish made with pureed eggplant paste; tabbouleh, a salad traditionally made with parsley; and a common dessert made with semolina dough.

She explained they do traditional American dishes including pies, turkey, stuffing and salad, but they make it in a Middle Eastern way.

“My favorite thing to eat is mac and cheese and warm pita bread with hummus because it reminds me of when I was young — because I used to eat it all the time during my childhood in Lebanon,” Kallab said.

Kallab also said she always helps her mom make the green bean casserole along with homemade hummus.

She said her family goes to Lebanon normally every other summer to spend time with her mother’s family.  

Yuritzi Soloroi, a 10th-grader at North Hall, gathers with her extended family on Thanksgiving. She said her family goes over to her aunt’s and uncle’s house and has a huge feast on their back porch.

“Most of the time our Thanksgiving dinners consist of traditional Hispanic foods including carne asada, a type of steak; mole, chicken drenched in a sweet sauce; and tamales, usually made with meat and wrapped in a corn husk.”

Soloroi said her favorite dishes are tacos and carne asada because they taste like regular steak but are wrapped in tortillas and made at home, which is always better than any restaurant.

“Thanksgiving is a time for us to genuinely sit down and enjoy each other’s company along with all the food,” she said.

Kristen Wedgis, an 11th-grader at Chestatee High School, said her Chinese-American Thanksgiving dinner looks more traditionally American: turkey, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, stuffing, always some type of casserole and an assortment of desserts.

Although their meal is mainly American foods, they also participate in Chinese traditions within the week of Thanksgiving. The Mid-Autumn Festival, a Chinese tradition during November, is sometime the week before or after Thanksgiving, and for that they always eat mooncakes, a traditional Chinese dessert. It is a pie made from red bean or lotus seed paste, which is eaten with tea.

Wedgis said they always say grace as a family before eating, and after dinner they sit around the fire.

She said Thanksgiving is a precious time for her family to sit down and enjoy each other while school is out for the week.

Families have different ways to celebrate Thanksgiving, whether it be eating a turkey, saying the blessing or playing football before dinner.  

“Thanksgiving is giving thanks for everything that God has blessed us with throughout the year and spending quality time with friends and family,” Kallab said.