By Aaina Chopra.
Every year, a wonderful event is celebrated by USA and Canadian-ites all around the world; a day set aside to 'Give Thanks'.
The Thanksgiving holidays have become a time for reflecting, expressing gratitude and sharing with others. This year it is being celebrated on the 26th of November and while for this year it may be hard to physically get together, it is still a wonderful time to share and let people know how much we care about them - even if it might be over a Zoom video call while eating pie!
The celebration itself honours the harvest and thus, an autumn harvest feast is eaten to celebrate the day. The feast is modelled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists of Plymouth and consists of turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries and pumpkin pie.
You can find out some really interesting facts about Thanksgiving on sites like these,
or one for the kiddies (short version)
Also some amazing Thanksgiving Dinner Recipes, like this one from Jamie Oliver:
Thanksgiving & Christmas Mega-mix!
The holiday, despite being dated back to the 1600s, only really became a national holiday in the 1800s. In 1817, New York became the first of many states to officially adopt a Thanksgiving holiday. However, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving as a national holiday on the last Thursday in November. The date, however, got slightly changed to the fourth Thursday in November, which isn’t always the last Thursday, after the Great Depression when Franklin D. Roosevelt, the President at the time, attempted to try to boost retail sales [if only he could see just how much retail sales have increased since then, thanks to ecommerce online shopping sites like Amazon!!]
Since then, Thanksgiving has been celebrated across the US and Canada, with nearly 90% of Americans eating turkey on the day.
Whilst activities done on Thanksgiving vary from family to family, many volunteer as a way of showing thanks for what they have. Often families and communities may hold a food drive or host a free dinner for the less fortunate.
Similarly, parades have also become an integral part of Thanksgiving celebrations, these feature marching bands, floats and performers. Football games and family gatherings are also some of the most popular ways to commemorate the day.
The holiday has now come to symbolise intercultural peace and gratefulness. America and Canada are ‘melting pots’ where people from so many different countries have made their home and and found new friends. We hope that if you are celebrating Thanksgiving this year, you have positively great one!