Thanksgiving in the Life of a Cypriot-American Student

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As a first generation American, Thanksgiving traditions are not as prominent on the fourth Thursday of November. While many families across the country are cooking turkey, watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and cheering on their favorite football team, fourth year Michigan State Studio Art student, Natassa Christides, and her family are celebrating in their own Cypriot-American fashion.

Since Christides’ parents immigrated from Cyprus in 1980, traditions don’t run deep for this holiday. While incorporating some traditional Thanksgiving food into the day, their meal consists mostly of Greek food. Turkey is coupled with lamb, mashed potatoes are substituted with grape leaves and cranberry sauce is nowhere to be seen.

“We sometimes have pumpkin pie for dessert,” Christides says, “but sometimes we don’t. It’s not important to always follow the same traditions since they haven’t been passed down for generations.”

The lack of tradition doesn’t make for any less special of a day. “It’s fun to just make it up as we go. As long as the family is together, that is what’s most important. I guess our biggest Thanksgiving tradition is just who it’s with, not so much what we do.”


Jessica Link is a senior in professional writing with minors in Spanish and economics. She’s an SEO marketing intern and avid Miami Dolphins fan. She spends her free time laughing at her own jokes, looking at pictures of puppies and eating any and all forms of cheese and potatoes.