When Americans gather together around a table groaning with favorite dishes on the fourth Thursday of November, what are we doing beyond filling our bellies with turkey and pie? We convened four experts in the psychology of family traditions and shared meals for a roundtable discussion about what ritual means in the context of Thanksgiving.
Anne Fishel, psychologist and author of Home for Dinner: I think of Thanksgiving as the mother of all family dinners. As a ritual, it has all the important ingredients – a prescribed time and place; aspects that are predictable and repeated year after year (signature foods) and some that are novel (guests added and departed, new family stories and arguments); and meaning conveyed through symbols. Each year, families come together to revisit something familiar but keep adding new layers of meaning, so that the ritual is reinterpreted….
Read the entire article, with input from experts Janine Roberts, Barbara Fiese and Bill Doherty alongside Dr. Anne Fishel, on The Conversation.