Thanksgiving is perhaps the quintessential American holiday.
The annual celebrations occur on the third Thursday of every November and sees the Americans get out their traditional turkey and other requisite culinary treats.
They may make a fuss out of Halloween and Christmas too, but Thanksgiving seems to hold a special place in the hearts of Americans.
But why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?
Why is Thanksgiving celebrated in America?
Despite not becoming an official federal holiday in November until 1939 when it was made so by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, with approval by congress, the origins of the holiday stretches back much further.
It can be traced back to 1621 when Pilgrims (settlers from England) in New England invited local Native Americans to their harvest celebrations to enjoy the harvest feast following a great season of growth.
Despite its pride of place in modern day Thanksgiving dinners, turkey was not on the menu.
Instead the Pilgrims and their guests would have enjoyed the likes of goose, cod, lobster, and deer.
The original celebrations lasted for three days instead of one and originate in the harvest celebrations in England at the time, however, these carry much less significance in modern day England.
It was then celebrated nationally on and off from 1789 after a proclamation by President George Washington.
It was not observed by President Thomas Jefferson, meaning it wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln was in office that it became a federal holiday in 1863 during the American Civil War.
However, it was President Roosevelt who solidified the modern timings and dates despite some controversy.
What Thanksgiving traditions are there?
The go-to Thanksgiving meal includes turkey with stuffing and vegetables.
Also look out for Yams, which are a starchy root vegetable grown in the Caribbean, but usually mean sweet potato when referred to in the context of Thanksgiving.
The traditional dessert is usually pumpkin pie.
Elsewhere, look out for the annual Thanksgiving Day parades, most prominent of which is the Macy’s parade in New York City, New York.
There is usually an extravaganza of costumes, floats, performances, and large helium balloons shaped like cartoon charactrs.
There are usually major sporting events over the Thanksgiving weekend.
Is there a controversy around Thanksgiving?
Yes, some Native Americans are actively opposed to celebrating the holiday, which they see as a glorification of the displacement of their ancestors by colonial settlers who stole their land and brought disease upon them.
American Thanksgiving 2019 takes place on November 28, 2019.
Do you have any Thanksgiving Day plans? Let us know in the comments below.