Published On: Thu, Nov 23rd, 2017

What is Thanksgiving?

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FAMILIES and friends across America are getting together to mark Thanksgiving 2017 today. But what is Thanksgiving and why is it celebrated?

Thanksgiving is America’s most beloved annual holiday and takes place on the fourth Thursday of November, kicking off the so-called Holiday Season.

The origins of Thanksgiving date back to 1621 when a group of English pilgrims in present-day Massachusetts shared a feast with a tribe of Native Americans to celebrate a plentiful harvest.

This “First Thanksgiving” took place in October and lasted about three days, although there is also evidence to suggest similar ceremonies were held two years earlier in Virginia.

The exact date of Thanksgiving varied from state to state until, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally declared it a national holiday across the whole of the USA.

Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Canada and various Caribbean islands. Even the UK has it’s own version of Thanksgiving, although it is not widely observed. / source/ 

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On Thanksgiving, people in the US gather with their family and friends to eat, drink and watch American football.

Major cities also hold massive parades, complete with floats, brass bands and giant inflatable balloons.

The most famous of parade is the Macy’s Day Parade in New York City. /source/

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Why do Americans eat Turkey on Thanksgiving?

Early Thanksgiving revellers feasted on fowl and beef, rather than a traditional turkey.

No-one knows for sure why turkey became the cornerstone of Thanksgiving dinner, although it is likely to be because the flightless bird is native to the North Americas.

An estimated 50 million turkeys are devoured in the USA every Thanksgiving, according to research by the University of Illinois.

But one turkey each year is ceremonially pardoned by the US president. Donald Trump will spare his first turkey this year./source/

 

Thanksgiving dinner

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