Every year, on the 4th Thursday of November, Americans gather around the table and celebrate Thanksgiving with a lavish meal, a football match and a parade. But how did this tradition start? Keep on reading to find out everything there is to know (or maybe just the interesting parts) about Thanksgiving.
It all started in 1621 when the surviving Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation invited the local Native Americans to a harvest feast after a particularly successful growing season. The Pilgrims were a group of about 100 religious refugees from England that boarded the Mayflower and sailed to America. When they first arrived, they were unable to grow any crops and they had to adapt to a harsher Winter. Unfortunately, about half the people died. Luckily for the rest, members of the local Wampanoag tribe taught the Pilgrims how to grow corn, beans and squash, catch fish, and collect seafood.
There are only two contemporary accounts of the 1621 Thanksgiving, but it’s clear that turkey was not on the menu. The three-day feast included goose, lobster, cod and deer.
Besides eating, what do people do on Thanksgiving day?
On Thanksgiving day families get together and give thanks for all the good things that they were given. However, after such a plentiful meal, there is usually time for some activities. There are some American football games that are broadcasted on TV and the impressive Macy’s parade that takes place in New York City.
Another interesting tradition, and this is a more recent one, is the turkey pardon by the President of the United States of America. The President is presented with a turkey by the National Turkey Federation. The bird is then “pardoned” and allowed to live out the rest of its natural life. Ronald Reagan was the first president to “pardon” a Thanksgiving turkey, in 1987. His successor, George H. W. Bush, made the pardoning ceremony into a White House tradition from 1989 onwards.
What about the day after Thanksgiving?
You have probably heard about Black Friday. Well, Thanksgiving kicks off the holiday season in the US. Therefore, since 1932 the day after Thanksgiving has been regarded as the beginning of Christmas shopping. Most major retailers (nowadays even small and local businesses) open very early on Friday (and more recently during overnight hours) and offer excellent promotional sales.
Now that you know more about Thanksgiving, don’t forget to share this article with your friends and family, also, if you enjoyed it, let us know by “liking” it.