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Thursday, 24 November 2011

4th THURSDAY IN NOVEMBER: THANKSGIVING DAY IN THE USA, TODAY



The origin of Thanksgiving Day: the Mayflower Pilgrims
A typical Thanksgiving Dinner
Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. It is a holiday celebrated primarily in Canada and the United States. It has a religious origin,but Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.
The date and location of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention. The traditional "first Thanksgiving" is the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States. The celebration became an important part of the American myth by the 1800s. This Thanksgiving, modeled after celebrations that were commonplace in contemporary Europe, is generally regarded as America's first. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner is held on this day, usually as a gathering of family members and friends.

In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. Firstly, baked or roasted turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as "Turkey Day"). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, other fall vegetables, and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. All of these are actually native to the Americas or were introduced as a new food source to the Europeans when they arrived.

During Thanksgiving Day families and friends usually gather for a large meal or dinner. Consequently the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. Thanksgiving is a four-day or five-day weekend vacation for schools and colleges. Most business and government workers (78% in 2007) are given Thanksgiving and the day after as paid holidays. Thanksgiving Eve, the night before Thanksgiving, is one of the busiest nights of the year for bars and clubs, as many college students and others return to their hometowns to reunite with friends and family.

In New York City, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held annually every Thanksgiving Day from the Upper West Side of Manhattan to Macy's flagship store in Herald Square, and televised nationally by NBC. The parade features parade floats with specific themes, scenes from Broadway plays, large balloons of cartoon characters and TV personalities, and high school marching bands. The float that traditionally ends the Macy's Parade is the Santa Claus float, the arrival of which is an unofficial sign of the beginning of the Christmas season.


Video the HISTORY OF THANKSGIVING:
To sum up:
What is Thanksgiving? Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada it is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
The First Thanksgiving
When we think of Thanksgiving today, images of football, pumpkin pie, parades, and turkey dinner complete with cranberry sauce come to mind, as well as plans for a Black Friday shopping spree the following day.
Of course none of these items were present back in 1621, when the Wampanoag people and the Pilgrims sat down together to give thanks to nature. Although the celebrants at this particular meal didn’t even call it “Thanksgiving”, this particular harvest feast is the one after which we model our modern-day Thanksgiving celebrations.
People of both cultures had been giving thanks for the fall harvest and other gifts of nature for many centuries. It is interesting to note that the religious element, giving thanks to God, was not present at this particular celebration in 1621, even though the Pilgrims were devoutly religious.
However, the Native Americans had their own religious customs and beliefs. As a result, during this "first" Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and Native Americans did not focus on what was different between them, but instead concentrated on what they all shared. The two groups of people worked side by side to hunt and prepare food as equals and friends. Their friendship and cooperation was yet another thing for which to be thankful.
When Americans sit down to our Thanksgiving dinner, they honor a piece of early American history. The story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans serve as a good reminder for all to be thankful for what they have.
How Thanksgiving Became a Holiday
After 1621, future Thanksgiving celebrations occurred at various times throughout the year. George Washington declared a feast of Thanksgiving in 1789, and presidents issued similar yearly proclamations after that. During the Civil War, poet Sarah Hale started a campaign to celebrate the holiday on the same day throughout the country.
President Abraham Lincoln saw it as a way to unite the country, and he in 1863 he proclaimed a national Thanksgiving celebration on the last Thursday in November. It was changed from the last Thursday to the third Thursday by Franklin Roosevelt in 1939 as a way to lengthen the Christmas shopping holiday. In 1941, Roosevelt finally changed the date to the fourth Thursday in November, proclaiming it a Federal holiday in 1941.

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