What Even Is Thanksgiving?

When?

On Thursday, 23rd November, a bunch of Americans will get together to celebrate Thanksgiving, a celebration where families have a huge roast Turkey dinner (okay, there’s much more to it than that, promise). Sounds very much like your annual Christmas dinner, right? Wrong! There are actually many differences between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Heck, even ‘Friends’ has multiple episodes dedicated to the seasonal holiday. You heard me — multiple. So, after much researching and many Turkeys later, I’m going to answer a few pressing questions…

 

What?

Thanksgiving is just the beginning of the holiday season in the US of A — hence the saying ‘happy holidays’. However, whilst non-Americans might see it as inferior to Christmas, Americans actually appreciate it with the same amount of holiday spirit. In fact, due to its secular nature, statistics suggest that there are actually more Americans who celebrate Thanksgiving over Christmas. So yeah, needless to say it’s a pretty big deal to our friends across the pond.

 

 

Why?

The day can be derived from the 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where religious refugees from England (aka Pilgrims) invited the Native Americans to harvest a fest. This was a year where the harvest was particularly prosperous, after previous years that had comparatively failed and even resulted in half of the pilgrims being starved to death. Luckily for the survivors, a year later there was plenty more food on the table, so to speak.

So yes, there’s actually a lot of interesting history as to why there is such a seemingly pointless holiday to those who don't know anything about it. Good food and good vibes is always enough of a reason to celebrate for me.

 

How?

Another pressing question is exactly how Americans celebrate the holiday — and the answer is with a whole lot of Turkey. It’s not entirely certain why or when Turkey can be traced back to the beginnings of the tradition, but one claim is that, as a native species to North America, they would simply be pretty easy to come by.

However, there are also a lot of fun activities going on, as you can imagine. These include the Thanksgiving Day Parades that are performed throughout the country, most notably the Macy’s parade in New York City. Parades and food — not a bad way to spend a national holiday.

Basically, anything non-Americans can celebrate, the Americans do better. And who really needs much of an excuse to have more Christmas dinner, a month before actual Christmas? I’m definitely not complaining.

 

Edited by Angelica Beier

 

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