The Origins and Traditions of Thanksgiving Day
As one of the oldest and most respected holidays in the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving traces its roots back to a celebration that took place in 1621 in Plymouth. At that time, the people were grateful for a bountiful harvest, and so they organized a feast and a “thanksgiving” in order to show their appreciation. Furthermore, the holiday was influenced by the flock of puritans and pilgrims that emigrated from England to New England during the 1620s and 1630s, since they were the ones who carried their Days of Thanksgiving traditions to the new land.
During our present days, the holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States as stated by the federal legislation of 1941. The event includes certain traditions such as family reunions, feasts, parades, football games and turkey-based meals. Family reunions involve the gathering of all family members and dining around a large table, on which a stuffed turkey is ever-present as a centerpiece. Even though historians don’t really have any practical proof to support the fact that turkey was eaten during the first Thanksgiving, most Americans concur that the holiday could not be celebrated without it. Other Thanksgiving meals involve corn-based recipes as well as cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
When President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as an official holiday, the parade tradition began to take root. Parades are used to highlight the country’s military prowess and lift the citizens’ spirits in the process. During our modern days, parades include musical concerts and celebrities. Watching NFL football during Thanksgiving is another popular tradition, which probably began with a legendary game between the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions that was played during this very special day.
No matter how it is celebrated, however, Thanksgiving Day allows people to show their gratitude towards the good things that happened in their lives and to share those moments with their families and close friends.