What is Thanksgiving and Why do we Celebrate Thanksgiving?


What is Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a North American harvest festival. When the Pilgrams (a Puritan sect) arrived in America to start a new life there, they set up colonies and grew crops. They celebrated Thanksgiving as an act of gratitude to God for their new life.

The earliest authenticated celebration was the one in September 1565, in Florida. The Native Americans were deeply pious, and the tradition is carried through even today.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October every year in Canada. It dates back to Martin Frobisher, who celebrated it in 1578 out of appreciation for having survived his journey trying to find a northern passage to the Orient.

European farmers observed Thanksgiving for good harvest. They stuffed a goat's horn with the harvested grains symbolically known as cornucopia or the Horn of Plenty. This ritual was carried on when they arrived in Canada.

In the United States Thanksgiving is celebrated as a legal one-day holiday every year on the fourth Thursday of November. When the Pilgrims first came to Plymouth Plantation,the Native American tribes like that of Wampanoag taught them how to yield crops for a living.

Hence, the former celebrated Thanksgiving as a prayer for a good harvest. Since 1947, The National Turkey Federation gives the President of the country one live and two dressed turkeys as gift. This ritual is known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation.

The Turkey:

What is Thanksgiving without the turkey which is probably the most traditional part of this harvest festival? Thanksgiving Day is often referred to as Turkey Day for the very same reason.

The turkey is stuffed with ingredients like stuffing,chopped onions,carrots and celery, and the traditional herb sage. This is then roasted, and placed at the center of the dinner table, ready to be cut into portions for everyone.

Many households serve ducks, geese, or chicken instead of turkey. And for those who are vegetarian, they have the option of tofu with turkey flavoring to savor the authenticity of a real one. Remember when cooking your meats to always make sure they are have reached the correct cooking temperature for food safety purposes. Other dishes that are commonly served with the turkey are mashed and sweet potatoes, Waldorf salad, gravy, and cranberries. For dessert, there is the quintessential Thanksgiving pumpkin pie, apple, or chocolate meringue pie. Among drinks, apple cider or wine can be served as well.

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The Dinner:

What is Thanksgiving without our Family and Friends gathered under the same roof in beautifully decorated homes?. Since Thanksgiving is about thanking the Almighty for everything that mortals have been blessed with in life, exchanging gifts on this day is not part of the tradition. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon.

Before starting the meal, the head of the family says a prayer, commonly known as grace,thanking God for the food that is spread before everyone. Guests can also contribute to the prayer if they wish to. A traditional family Thanksgiving prayer would be:

Jesus, thank you for loving us; And providing food, shelter, and each other. Every moment of our lives is a gift; And we appreciate all the time You have given us. Thank you for all our good fortune. Amen.

Then the feast begins with great food normally from Traditional Family Recipes!!!

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Cooking Thanksgiving Turkey

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The Holiday Season:

What is Thanksgiving without the excitement and anticipation of knowing that between Thanksgiving Day and New Year's Day is known as the holiday season. During this time, friends and family get together to share each other's company, exchange gifts, and eat lots of good food. A dinner, similar to what is served on Thanksgiving, is spread out for Christmas and New Year's Day as well.

Thanksgiving and Television:

What is Thanksgiving, without the many tv shows or that have showcased celebrating Thanksgiving? Shows like Friends (Season 3: Episode 9; Season 4: Episode 8), Grey's Anatomy (Season 1: Episode 8), Tom & Jerry (Season1: Episode 40) and The Simpsons (Season 2: Episode 7) are common examples. Portraying a bad Thanksgiving experience among the characters of the show is a common tactic. However, in the end, they all come around to celebrate the festival with the ones whom they love. There are also a number of great cooking shows on tv that concentrate on making remarkable Thanksgiving appetizers and entrees, which vary between Family Recipes to Great Chef creations.


What is Thanksgiving without its parades like that of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade that takes place in Manhattan, New York? The Parade stretches from the Upper West Side to the Macy's flagship store in Herald Square. It includes balloons, broad way performances, eminent personalities, and parade floats based on various themes. The parade ends with a Santa Claus float that marks the beginning of Christmas.

Harvest festivals are not restricted to Canada and North America. The Tamil festival of Pongal, the Jewish festival of Sukkot, and Ikore celebrated in Nigeria are just some of the rituals similar to Thanksgiving Day.