We are on the most anticipated and celebrated date in the United States and now in other countries like Canada, yes, “Thanksgiving Day”. As we know, the date set for its celebration is the fourth Thursday in November, being a celebration prior to Christmas.
But what do we know about the origins and traditions of Thanksgiving Day? Well, this one commemorates the first encounter in 1621 of the early settlers with the natives they shared on fertile land.
Speaking of the official story, in 1620 the Mayflower ship arrived from England at Plymouth, Massachusetts. In it there were a hundred separatist religious in order to settle in a new territory. After a harsh winter of cold and hunger that killed several settlers, the native Wampanoag Indians taught the English how to plant, gather, and hunt in these new lands. This new harvest was a success and in gratitude for the help offered, the English invited the natives to a great dinner to share the collected products. Thus, gives rise to Thanksgiving Day. Abraham Lincoln, years later proclaimed it as Thanksgiving Day officially.
We know that it is a day where 98% of Americans celebrate with their families and this is thanks to the fact that it is considered the most ecumenical day on the calendar, since it is celebrated by all people regardless of their creed. The main objective is to take a moment to share and thank the family for all the good things that have been experienced during the year.
And what are the most important activities on this day?
- As we discussed before, it is a day entirely for the family and the family comes together to recognize and give thanks. This is done before starting dinner around the table that has been carefully prepared. It is customary for the head of the family to give thanks for the people and the good things in their lives.
The main dish is turkey, choice for nearly 88% of Americans, often served with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, glazed green beans or carrots, and pumpkin or pecan pie for dessert.
The turkey is the protagonist, but not by chance, since history tells us that at that first Thanksgiving dinner the natives shared a turkey and stuffed it with the harvest.
- A day that is also widely televised and is thanks to the Turkey Pardon Ceremony which consists of the President of the United States pardoning the life of a turkey and condemning another. The doomed turkey is the one eaten at Thanksgiving dinner at the White House before the entire nation. About the pardoned turkey, it will spend the rest of its life in a zoo.
Legend tells us that the tradition began in 1947 with President Harry S. Truman, but the first officially recorded pardon was in 1989 with George H. Bush.
- But if you are in New York, you cannot miss another of the already most popular tradition of Thanksgiving Day and that is the Macy’s parade. It is known that it is done in other cities, but the one in New York is the one with the highest television audience. It is a parade that has 90 years of history, starting the first in 1924.
Its audience is estimated at more than 50 million viewers, whose tour goes through iconic places in the Big Apple such as Central Park, Sixth and Seventh Avenue; What most characterizes this parade are its large floats and balloons that represent cartoon characters. The end of the parade is framed with the appearance of Santa Claus and this closes to start the Christmas festivities. It also marks the start of this season’s shopping with Black Friday, which is just the day after Thanksgiving Day.
- Already as a tradition of this great festivity are the matches of the National Football League (NFL). The first games were played in 1934, these games include the Detroit Lions, and Dallas Cowboys as hosts.
You are just in time to prepare to celebrate this Thanksgiving, since it mobilizes the entire country making us meet with our relatives and even cross the country for it. That’s why you need to anticipate your trip to avoid missed flights or delays due to air and vehicle traffic.
It only remains for you to enjoy your loved ones and be thankful for all the good things, the regular ones, that life gives us and help us grow to be better human beings.
Happy Thanksgiving Day!