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A Tale of Two Thanksgiving: Black Thanksgiving Traditions

A Tale of Two Thanksgiving: Black Thanksgiving Traditions

While the South is known for many hearty holiday traditions, the traditions vary from different regions of the South. Some Black Southern Belles have different traditions from the Black Southern Beaus in their lives and there is nothing wrong with that. However, the fun fact is that there is more than one way in which our culture celebrates Thanksgiving. Imagine your Southern Thanksgiving Traditions—sweet cold and warm desserts, fall decor colors, elaborate table settings, playing games around the living quarters—are just a few traditions that are known specifically to the South. However, not all of these traditions are exactly the same in the South. 

To elaborate on the South and their Thanksgiving Traditions, we want to share their two individuals and their traditions during the November holiday. 

Eboné Ivory, the Black Southern Belle who lives in Lexington, SC, has southern roots that are across the entire South. From South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama to Mississippi, Tennessee and Louisiana, Ebone understands that the South has been instilled in her and knows that there are traditions that are known to the South that others may not fully understand or just see as their own tradition.

When asked what completes Thanksgiving in your home, Ebone responded “I don’t mean to be a cliché but the simple answer is family.” Ebone did not grow up with the opportunity to live close to her family, so Thanksgiving was the only time every year that she got to see all of her aunts and uncles, grandparents and cousins.  

As a traditional southerner, Ebone prides herself on being the daughter of the Deep South and has a good understanding of the Southern Thanksgiving tradition. “Every Thanksgiving without a doubt the kitchen down in Phenix City, Alabama is always filled with my grandmother, aunts, my mother and I; now that I’m older. We are cooking recipes that have been passed down through our family for generations that’s sourced out of our family cookbook. Let me make this clear, there is no tangible cookbook with these recipes, they are honestly written into our hearts and we just know the recipes by heart. My dad grew up in Louisiana so the recipes are more Cajun style. For example, on Thanksgiving my grandmother cooks her dirty rice and my grandpa or uncle makes a pot of gumbo in addition to the traditional Thanksgiving course items.”

Chef Cocoa Black 

@chicchef31 is a chef from Portsmouth, Virginia, currently based in Charlotte, North Carolina and is one of many Black Southern Belles that is waiting and looking forward to the Thanksgiving holiday. Chef Cocoa Black states that Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday because it’s the one time her family gets together for the entire day. A great tradition in the South is the way in which our family gathers. Instead of just coming over for dinner for Thanksgiving, in the South, it is known for families to be together ALL DAY. Whether it’s all hands on deck to finish the Thanksgiving dinner or all the kids playing together outside, the South is known for their family atmosphere during the holiday season.

Chef Cocoa fully explains that “As long as there’s great food and a loving family, then my Thanksgiving is perfect.” Family and food is what makes Thanksgiving and many other Black Southern Belles can agree. 

These two Southern Belles both have a different take on traditions they have in the South, however, both of them are aware of the commonality of celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday in the South. Along with being thankful for those around you, being thankful for those who kept the tradition going in your family and the ones who are able to keep it going for years to come is one of the most rewarding experiences of this holiday. 

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