The fourth Thursday in November marks the Thanksgiving celebrations in the US (yes, it’s already that time of year!). The original point of the day was to give thanks for the harvest and for all the good things that have happened during the previous year.
It is thought that this celebration stems from one that took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621, when the pilgrims who had moved to the country from England celebrated the harvest. The thanksgiving was primarily a religious festival; however, after the American Revolution, state leaders as well as religious leaders proclaimed thanksgiving. The first nationwide celebration was announced in 1789 by George Washington and it has been a part of US culture ever since.
Part of the tradition now sees the US president giving a turkey a ‘pardon’ to prevent it being eaten as part of a family’s thanksgiving dinner. The turkey dinner and pumpkin pie are seen as traditional parts of the celebration and Thanksgiving is a national holiday; therefore, workplaces are generally closed and people are able to spend the day with their family and friends.
The decision to make the celebration the fourth Thursday in November was taken in 1941 and is now part of federal legislation. A number of cities in the US hold parades for thanksgiving and the parade in New York is a particular favorite, with millions watching it on TV.
If you cannot make it to New York in person, enjoy the show at home along with a delicious turkey dinner and remember everything good that has happened this year.
– Lance Grooms