Faces in the Crowd: How the Times Staff celebrated Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving dinner setting at Times Staff member Dung Trans house on Nov. 26.

Dung Tran, Times Staff

Thanksgiving dinner setting at Times Staff member Dung Tran’s house on Nov. 26.




Elaisa Acosta Meneses
I celebrate Thanksgiving. I adopted the celebration after arriving in the United States. I gathered with my family and our closest friends for Thanksgiving.
This year for Thanksgiving dinner, I cooked a unique potato salad that’s a traditional dish from Venezuela and a caesar salad. My friend cooked the turkey and “Moros,” a particular way of cooking rice with beans in Latin-American countries.
This Thanksgiving was a bit more special than the rest. I wanted to take the opportunity to share with the people I love, give thanks to God for his blessings and for keeping my family together with good health in a year that was the most challenging I have ever seen.





Monica Hernandez Escobar
This year my Thanksgiving holiday was fun but different. As a Hispanic family, I don’t think we ever celebrated Thanksgiving for its true meaning. For my family it’s just always been a special day of being grateful and filled with lots of home-cooked food from our culture.
We used to cook turkey the first few years we were here, but then we realized we would rather just cook a whole bunch of our traditional meals. On Thanksgiving my whole family usually comes to my house to eat, play games and do karaoke. Our house is always filled with so much laughter and joy on Thanksgiving day.
This year was a bit different because not my whole family could attend to make sure that we were safe. It was a bit sad to not have all my cousins, aunts and uncles with us this year; but we chose to look at the positive side, that we were all healthy and safe.
Thanksgiving is an North American holiday/tradition so other countries don’t celebrate it. In my country, El Salvador, this holiday doesn’t exist so it was a new thing for us when we moved to the United States. Here’s a picture of me and one of our famous drinks from El Salvador, it’s a soda called Cola Champan. We had a whole bunch of this on Thanksgiving.


Maryellen Torres
My Thanksgiving was really fun. It was nice to set up a table and sit down and enjoy a meal with my family and boyfriend. I would say I celebrate Thanksgiving in terms of it being a time where my family gets together, sits down to eat a meal and goes around the table to say what we are thankful for.
We eat a handful of things including turkey and ham. This year didn’t feel different from the last other than the negative that has surrounded this year. Either way, I was grateful to still have my family with me on this day.






Dung Tran
I often have a family meal at this event. This day is also an opportunity for families to reunite. My family often prepares a family meal on Thanksgiving Eve with some decorations in the house and dinner with some of Thanksgiving’s unique dishes. The warm atmosphere reminds me of the Lunar New Year of my homeland Vietnam. I learned that when you go to another country to live, you must try to settle into a new life, learn the language and learn about the place’s culture.
I started to study English in a secondary school in my country a long time ago. I had a chance to learn from my teacher that Thanksgiving dates back to 1621, with the party being held on the Plymouth plantation, where the first British settled in the U.S. The image of a golden roast turkey on the dining table has become a symbol of Thanksgiving. Behind these dishes are exciting stories of the Pilgrims. Today, turkey is an indispensable dish in North American families on Thanksgiving.
As an Asian, my wife does not know how to cook the roast turkey, but my son-in-law and daughter can cook this dish. They always cook a roast turkey and pumpkin pie for my family.
Besides family meals, I sometimes go to the shopping center on Thanksgiving evening for shopping with my family. However, I preferred to do online shopping on Black Friday than go to the malls.
Because of the pandemic, based on recommendations from the CDC as well as from the state governments, many activities on Thanksgiving Day were limited this year. I am surprised that following the daily news leading up to Thanksgiving, the number of people who booked flights to travel increased dramatically despite COVID-19. I hope that people are aware of the pandemic’s dangers and contribute to the fight against the pandemic. Then we will soon return to everyday life.