Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with gaiety and family warmth in the USA, Canada, and a number of other countries all over the world. Family values, food and blessing are at the core of this annual celebration, yet there are some more that may seem not that obvious. In the run-up to the holiday, we thought you wouldn’t mind to learn some fascinating facts about this day. They will help you out to make the conversation flaw at the abundant dinner table.
- Today we celebrate on just one day (maybe two considering Black Friday), yet the first Thanksgiving celebration lasted three days. The harvest feast shared by the colonists (Pilgrims) and the native Wampanoag people in 1621 is believed to lay the foundation of the tradition. The severe winter of that year hit hard making it particularly hard for the poorly prepared settlers to survive. The history might have taken a different course but for the help of the natives who told them how to catch the local fish and grow corn. The enormous harvest that followed was celebrated together. According to some historians, only five women and 90 Wampanoag Indians shared that feast.
- Hardly anyone can imagine this day without juicy roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and bright pumpkin pie, with over 46 million turkeys crowning dinner tables annually. But have you ever wondered why turkey? Actually, there’s no clear trace of the dish being offered at the dinner table when it all started in 1621. Probably, the cooked duck or sworn did duty for turkey back then. And by the way, did you know that only male turkey gobble?
- There’s no fix date, the holiday falls on the fourth Thursday of November in the USA (can occur between November 22 and 28; in 2019 the celebration will take place on November 28) and on the second Monday of October in Canada (October 14 this year).
- Following Gorge Washington’s formal proclamation of the Day of Thanksgiving in 1799, his successors kept with the custom ever since. Nevertheless, some Presidents (Thomas Jefferson in particular) considered it to be a violation of the separation of church and state. During the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln made it an official federal holiday on November 26 in 1863. The idea was based on the belief that such a holiday would contribute to uniting the nation.
- In an attempt to bolster retail sales during the Great Depression, President Roosevelt moved the date one week earlier in 1939 which led to much protest and confusion and coining of the word ‘Franksgiving’. The announcement led to the split between the states with 23 of them following the change and the other 23 keeping the traditional date. Colorado and Texas made up their minds to take the best of both worlds and celebrated both the dates. This change failed to increase the spending only influencing the distribution of the shopping. The confrontation was resolved with the Congress passing the law in 1941 which declared the fourth Thursday of November every year to be the date of Thanksgiving.
- The Thanksgiving greeting card was first advertised in the late 19th century and for many years remained an important element of the holiday. The themes of a turkey pulling a carriage or kids riding a giant turkey came and went, yet the sincerity of wishes and the desire to share warmth and gratitude remained.
Giving thanks for the harvest and all blessings of the preceding year as well as a wonderful opportunity to get all the family together under one roof is what makes this day so welcome and appreciated. Whether indulging in delicious food, watching parades or sticking to TV during American football broadcast is you favorite on this day, make sure you have a great time and give thanks for everything that is there in your life. Because being grateful is the easiest way to be happy.
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