What is Thanksgiving Day? Where and how is it celebrated?

Thanksgiving, in English ‘Thanksgiving’, is a fiesta held in various countries. In all cases it has a religious character, since it consists of a celebration from gratitude for some special reason (good harvest, end of a drought …), although not so much in its origin. Especially celebrated is in the country in which we will focus, USA, where there is some controversy about the origin of the Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on a specific date.

What is the origin of the celebration?

Modern tradition indicates that the origin It dates back to the early 1620s in Plymouth (Massachusetts, USA). In 1620 a ship called the ‘Mayflower’ arrived from England to this town, northeast of what we know today as the United States (founded in 1776). Once there, the indigenous people helped the English to harvest the land in the settlement in which they had settled. In 1621, after a successful harvest, he appointed as governor of the colony of Plymouth organized a party to invite those indigenous people who had helped them to a meal as a token of their appreciation. This event became an annual tradition, it spread throughout the territory and today it is a national event.

This is the most popular version of its origin, although there are historians who point out that the first celebration of these characteristics dates back to the Spanish colonizers in Florida 60 years earlier.

Where and when is it celebrated?

Thanksgiving is celebrated mostly in the United States and Canada. In other countries, such as Germany and Japan, similar festivities are celebrated that call differently. In the US it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, while in Canada it is the second Monday in October, being a national holiday in both countries. In some cities there are events and parades, such as the one in New York, which attracts millions of people.

How is Thanksgiving celebrated?

Thanksgiving is a family celebration, even more important than Christmas in some cases. American families meet in their homes, where they prepare a feast. Before the meal, the most believers say a prayer in gratitude to God for the food. At the table, the Turkey is the main protagonist. It is usually served stuffed and cooked in the oven and accompanied by a sauce (red cranberries is common).

The turkey is usually accompanied at the table by large trays of vegetables, sweet potatoes, among other foods. The tables are packed until the end, also at dessert or dessert time, since it is common for a wide variety of sweets to be served. The most popular is pumpkin pie. The meal is usually accompanied by apple cider, wine, and champagne.

The Turkey Pardon

Thanksgiving is also highly celebrated at the White House. In 1989, then-President George HW Bush inaugurated the tradition of pardoning a turkey before Thanksgiving, and all his successors have maintained this ceremony. US President Donald Trump has also complied with the tradition of this holiday, the most popular in the country.

President Abraham Lincoln (1861-1865) established the holiday of ‘Thanksgiving’ to commemorate the celebration with which the British settlers who arrived in the country aboard the ‘Mayflower’ in 1620, wanted to thank God for their good harvest after a harsh winter. In 1789, when George Washington was appointed the first president of the United States, he chose November 26 as the official Thanksgiving day, but in 1863 Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as the final official date.

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