Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States, and this year occurs on Thursday, November 25. In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast, that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Thanksgiving is one of the most important celebrations in the United States: it is a family holiday as important or even more important than Christmas, It is also a mark of identity of the country: the date on which the first Europeans in the American territory, the colonists, thanked the gifts received. Most of the time the object of gratitude was a good harvest.
The main idea for this celebration may include the essence of GRATITUDE. Sharing time with your beloved ones, it is a time to reflect on the things we are grateful for. The one of this 2021 will be one of the most particular after the pandemic gave a greater respite since last year’s celebration: more movement of people is expected than in 2020 to reunite with families and eat baked turkey with a filling of cornbread and herbs, seasoned with cranberry sauce and accompanied by legumes, sweet potato, and mash.
But how did this beautiful tradition start?
It is believed that those arriving on the Mayflower in Massachusetts shared with the native Wampanoag the first Thanksgiving in 1621, as a way to celebrate both the understanding of the two groups, which had already been going on for seven months and a good harvest: the first for a group of Europeans that the previous year, after arriving on the continent without preparation or food for the winter, they had resorted to stealing corn from the tombs and warehouses of the aborigines.
Due to the lack of knowledge from the pilgrims, Native Americans introduce part of their agricultural culture to them, in order to help them get their own food. After a year of growing crops and settling down into their new home. Pilgrims gave a great feast and invited the Native Americans with the purpose of thanking and celebrating the end of the harvest.
The celebration, however, was not repeated until many years later, when in 1789 George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving to be a national holiday on Thursday, November 26th that year. Setting the last Thursday in November. Despite this, the holiday was celebrated on different days from state to state and Thomas Jefferson later did away with the holiday.
Thanksgiving didn’t become a nationwide holiday until President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863. Every year following, the President proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was switched from the final Thursday in November to the next-to-last Thursday in November by President Roosevelt in 1939; as he wanted to create a longer Christmas shopping period to simulate the economy which was still recovering after the Great Depression.
This caused widespread confusion with many states ignoring the change until Congress sanctioned the fourth Thursday in November as a legal holiday in 1941.
In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a delicious meal with family and friends; Turkey.
Parades have also become an important part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities, and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
Thanksgiving is definitely one of the most wonderful traditions that the United States celebrates, honoring the merge of two completely different cultures.
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