Thanksgiving, a cherished holiday that marks a time of gratitude, unity, and feasting, has deep roots in American history. Though many people only think of turkey, pumpkin pie, and getting together with loved ones when celebrating, the holiday’s history and customs go beyond the dinner table.
The origins of Thanksgiving as observed in the United States date back to the early 1700s. A group of English separatists, known as the Pilgrims, arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620 on the Mayflower. The year was hard for the Pilgrims because of the brutal winters and scarcity of supplies. However, they were able to live and reap a rich crop in 1621 thanks to the help of the native Wampanoag people. In order to give thanks and celebrate their bountiful harvest, they arranged a three-day feast that is commonly known as the “First Thanksgiving.”
The lavish feast is one of the most treasured parts of Thanksgiving. Usually, the main course is a roasted turkey stuffed with a tasty mixture of veggies and herbs. Still, other foods have a special place on the table. Side dishes, such as stuffing, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes, provide a rich tapestry of tastes. And don’t overlook the sweets! Thanksgiving staples include pumpkin and pecan pies, which you can enhance with a dab of whipped cream.
Thanksgiving dinners now have a contemporary spin thanks to families that are combining non-traditional fare like vegan or vegetarian selections, international cuisines, or fusion foods that represent their many interests and cultures. Regardless of the exact food
selections on the menu, what matters is that the meal is a sign of appreciation and community that brings people closer together.
For many, New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade marks the official start of Thanksgiving Day. Since its founding in 1924, this legendary occasion has developed into an enormous extravaganza that includes extravagant floats, marching bands, and celebrity appearances. Millions of people nationwide watch the parade, which is a fun start to the holiday feast. It’s a gathering that embodies the joy and togetherness that Thanksgiving symbolizes.
“Watching the Macy’s parade is one of my favorite things to do with my family on Thanksgiving” commented Giana Scotti, a freshman business marketing student.
Thanksgiving is a time to gather with loved ones and exchange gratitude. Each family has their own traditions that add to the holiday’s specialness. While some play board games with friendly rivalry, others might play touch football in the garden. Some people embody the giving spirit by volunteering at nearby shelters or organizations. Additionally, sharing gratitude at the dinner table is a common practice among families, which encourages introspection and appreciation.
Black Friday, a massive shopping event, has grown to become intimately linked with Thanksgiving in recent years. A flurry of holiday gift-buying, early store openings, and staggering discounts are all part of this post-Thanksgiving shopping extravaganza.
An emphasis on materialism may often obscure Thanksgiving’s actual significance, but the holiday also offers a chance for friends and family to get together over amazing sales and memorable shopping experiences.
Cara Major, a freshman marine and environmental biology student, elaborated, “Black Friday shopping is one of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions.”
Thanksgiving is a major holiday in popular culture. Classics like “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” and “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” perfectly capture the spirit of the occasion. Additionally, Thanksgiving marks the release of special episodes of popular television shows, like “Friends” and “The Simpsons.”
Literature also features Thanksgiving celebrations. The holiday is the theme of novels written by authors like Louisa May Alcott, O. Henry, and Langston Hughes, which capture the spirit of the season’s warmth and thankfulness.
Thanksgiving is a long-standing custom that combines history, thankfulness, and the pleasures of spending time with family and friends. Thanksgiving is still a holiday centered around giving thanks for the blessings in our life, but it has changed over time to reflect the shifting attitudes and traditions of contemporary society. This holiday serves as a reminder of the value of family, solidarity, and the transformative power of thankfulness, transcending food and festivities. Take a moment to consider the ins and outs of this beloved holiday and the ideals it represents as you gather around the table this Thanksgiving.