Holidays 365: Thanksgiving

Halloween has ended, and now all the stores in the malls are bumping their Christmas carols while trying to sell ugly Christmas sweaters and wreaths. But what happened to Thanksgiving?

In recent years, both the media and communities within the United States have begun to overlook Thanksgiving day in favor of Christmas, and even Black Friday. However, there's a lot of cool facts about Thanksgiving that you probably didn't know. Here's why you should be celebrating Thanksgiving Day this year.

The History

Most people attribute Thanksgiving to the infamous dinner between Pilgrims and Native Americans back in the early days of North American settlement. But, that actually isn't necessarily where Thanksgiving comes from. During the early days of our nation, many Presidents and the Continental Congress proclaimed random days as days of thanksgiving, in order to celebrate accomplishments of war, prosperity, and national pride. The actual day we currently celebrate Thanksgiving on is thanks to Abraham Lincoln, who proclaimed in November of 1863 that the last Thursday of the month would be a national holiday. Many of the traditions we have now actually came from traditions started up North and have since carried over into recent years across the continent. 

The Traditions

  • Charity - Many communities set up food drives or soup kitchens in order to feed their less fortunate members of the community. This is done to show thanks through service and donations.
  • Food - It's all about turkeys during Thanksgiving season. The day is also known as "Turkey Day." Some other common dishes to be served are green beans, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, pumpkin pie, etc. 
  • Thankfulness - The original conception of Thanksgiving had to do with giving thanks to God and all of his blessings, but has since become a holiday of giving thanks to family, prosperity, and good food. It's a very common tradition to spend time with extended family during the holiday as a sign of thankfulness as well.
  • Parades - Many counties and cities throw parades for Thanksgiving, but the most common and well-known parade is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC. This is considered the beginning of the Christmas season, as Macy's Santa Claus makes his first public appearance at the end of the parade.
  • Football - Normally there's a big football game on Thanksgiving day that is typically playing in the background of Thanksgiving Dinner. It's a pretty big deal.

Fun Facts

  • TV Dinners were invented specifically for Thanksgiving day, and have since become a staple of American culture (which is both sad but also neat).
  • Abraham Lincoln can be credited with making Thanksgiving a national holiday, but who was he inspired by? A writer named Sarah Hale, whose other claim to fame is creating the nursery rhyme "Mary Had A Little Lamb."
  • Ben Franklin argued that the nation's bird should be a Turkey, not an Eagle. He thought Eagles had "bad moral character."
  • Every year, the President pardons a turkey, meaning he is free from the fear of death by dinner table thanks to the blessing of the US President.
  • Americans eat 46 million turkeys every year on Thanksgiving, and California eats the most out of every state.
  • 8 out of 10 Americans say that they enjoy the leftovers of Thanksgiving more than the actual meal. I can concur.
  • The United States is not the only country to celebrate Thanksgiving. Canada celebrates as well! However, they celebrate a bit earleir in October.

Christmas is great, don't get me wrong, but Thanksgiving is an entirely underappreciated holiday that deserves a little love. What do you think about Thanksgiving? Do you celebrate? Leave your opinion in the comments!