The Airport on Thanksgiving Eve Essay

The Airport on Thanksgiving Eve Essay

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Thanksgiving holiday is one of the few holidays that we do not have in Thailand. I never understood the significance of this holiday apart from its two-day school break until I traveled on Thanksgiving eve this past holiday. A taxi driver who drove me to the airport hinted about its importance by saying that, “Tonight is one of the busiest travel periods of the year.” I did not completely comprehend his claim until I saw how crowded the airport was. It seemed to me that everyone headed home to celebrate Thanksgiving with his or her family. However, what was most amusing that night was a scene of tens or even hundreds of people waiting for their family members at arrival gate. I was not clear why there were lots of people so I decided to do ethnography on these people to help me understand the reasons behind their actions.
The social behavior that I specifically observed is the phenomenon of an enormous amount of people congregating and waiting at the airport on Thanksgiving eve compared to an average day. Although some may doubt the significance of this phenomenon as airports always seem to be busy, they may have not considered other constraints associated with Thanksgiving Eve such as traffic jams and huge crowds. Possible explanations for this phenomenon is due to peer pressure from the parents’ neighbors, or an economical reason such that it may be faster for parents to pick up their kids as opposed to public transportation that night.
I used ethnography to answer this question instead of quantitative analysis or experiments because of several reasons. First, variables for quantitative analysis must have numbers; without numbers we cannot use any statistical techniques. Possible quantitative variables for the question are the...


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...tions and truly make sense of the phenomenon.
To summarize, by performing an ethnographic study on those who waited at the airport on Thanksgiving eve, I discovered that these people, despite the traffic and crowds on Thanksgiving eve, still come to the airport because of their desire to demonstrate their love to the arriving person. In terms of generalization, while we can generalize our finding to different airports on the same night, we cannot generalize it to every airport waiting situation such as when parents come pick up their kids on other days because the situation is different due to traffic and crowds. Therefore, our finding is bounded by a specific period of time. Lastly, this study indicates that the loveliest moment of Thanksgiving is not a big fancy dinner on Thursday, but the first time we reunite with each other at the airport on Thanksgiving eve.

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