Happy Thanksgiving! Thanksgiving Day is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year.
Americans believe that their Thanksgiving is modelled on a 1621 autumn harvest feast shared by the English pilgrims and the Wampanoag people. The holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November to promote unity.
Canadian Thanksgiving, however, is celebrated earlier than its American counterpart on the second Monday in October. Canada is geographically further north than the US, meaning the harvest season arrives earlier. Since Thanksgiving for Canadians is more about giving thanks for the harvest season than the arrival of pilgrims, they celebrate the holiday in October.
The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism and the traditional meal typically includes turkey, as the inaugural Thanksgiving possibly began with a few colonists going out “fowling”. Whilst Thanksgiving celebrations have lost much of their original religious significance, the holiday now focuses on cooking and sharing a meal with family and friends. Served with the turkey is bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn and cranberries followed by pumpkin pie. This American classic dessert is made with fresh pumpkin for a delicious flavour and wonderful texture. Why not try out recipe below!
Volunteering is a common activity as well as watching the parades in cities and towns. Macy’s department store in New York has the largest parade with huge balloons. Another popular pastime are the Thanksgiving Day football games, which began with Yale versus Princeton in 1876.
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