Turkey Day!

As this years Thanksgiving day falls at the beginning of the Orthodox Nativity Fast and normally on Thanksgiving we eat a tremendous amount of that bird called Turkey, along with a load of other goodies, what should we do?

Well here another person’s post on handling this years Thanksgiving day:

“About Thanksgiving Day and the Fast: This year the Na­tivity Fast begins on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday 28 November. This happens on the average of one out of seven years. Because Wednesdays are also fast days, the Fast effectively begins the day before Thanksgiving Day on Wednesday, 27 Novem­ber. As Orthodox Chris­tians, we do not break the fast for the sake of secular holidays – and Thanksgiving Day is not a Church holiday – and so we should keep the fast on this day. What should we do, therefore, about the traditional Thanksgiving dinner? We have three choices:

1) We could transfer the family Thanksgiving dinner to the previous Sunday, 24 November, and invite our Orthodox family and friends that day to share our Thanksgiving meal;

2) We could transfer the Thanksgiving dinner to Tuesday, the last non-fasting day before Christmas; or

3. We could keep the family Thanksgiving meal on Thanks­giving Day itself, Thursday 28 November, but with a different menu in keeping with the Fast.

Since this is a Thursday, and some Orthodox traditions permit fish on Thursdays, we could substitute stuffed salmon or other large fish for turkey as the main course. There are a number of harvest-themed accompaniments that we could serve at a fasting Thanksgiving dinner: mashed potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, turnips, squash, all made with margarine instead of butter and, if necessary, non-dairy milk or creamer instead of dairy milk and cream. Stuffing can likewise be made without the turkey broth, milk and butter, but with the broth of the broiled or baked fish, or simply without broth. There are several commercially available stuffing mixes that are fasting. Cranberry sauce is fasting. Instead of pumpkin pie, we can serve instead a fruit pie with a fasting crust: apple, blueberry or rhu­barb.

And so we can still have a festive meal on Thanksgiving, and yet observe the Fast. Please remember, though, that we should be reasonable in our consumption, for gluttony is a sin, and the point of the fast is to bring our appetites under control. So let us not go overboard by devouring huge quantities of food.”

Another thought is to eat what your non-Orthodox family shares, and return to the fast when you leave their home, for receiving the hospitality of your family may be more important than keeping a strict observance. But note, that does not mean that gluttony is permitted on that day either. Everything in moderation.

Pray, pray some more, and consult with your Spiritual Father.

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About padrerichard

I am a Priest with ROCOR and serve as Rector at St. Joseph of Optina Parish in Virginia Beach, VA
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One Response to Turkey Day!

  1. ohshecooks says:

    There are even a number of Lenten pumpkin pie recipes out there if you’re feeling adventurous. Personally, I hate to miss out on pumpkin pie 🙂

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