We are celebrating Thanksgiving
This week a very important celebration is held in the United States, Thaksgiving Day. It takes place on the fourth Thursday of November and the main reason for this celebration is to give thanks for all that we have along with the good things that happened during our lives. Sure you have heard of this because many American films are set on this day or include a scene of the typical family dinner, eating roast turkey. Such examples include Brokeback mountain, El Nuevo Mundo, Free Birds... Anyway, it's a festivity that most of us know about, but what exactly is celebrated? and what are we thankful for?
Origin in religious dissent.
It would seem that in the year 1620 some English Puritans landed in Plymouth, U.S.A fleeing from the religious persecution they were suffering. What had happened was that they did not agree with either the Catholic or Anglican Church. So they embarked on the "Mayflower" and set sail for America, where they thought they could follow their religion freely.
Their original destination wasn't Plymouth, but a colony located in Virginia. However, they had to change direction because of a storm and ended up in the port of Plymouth. They arrived in winter and it seems it was very hard, they had hardly any food and more than half of them died. Fortunately, the native indians that lived in that land helped them in exchange for keeping peace with them. They showed the colonists how to grow maize, to fish and in general how to survive in those surroundings.
It is said that when the first harvest came in, which was abundant, the colonists wanted to celebrate. So, in a friendly gesture they invited the Indian tribes to celebrate with them. The reason was to thank God for the good harvest and the festivities lasted three days. Maybe this was the first celebration of "Thanksgiving Day" in history. Since then, and due to droughts and problems with the native indians, this event wasn't celebrated in a continuous way. They say that it wasn't until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln declared this day a national holiday.
How is it celebrated these days?
Thanksgiving Day is primarily a family celebration, university students and those who work away from home travel back to reunite with their families to celebrate that day. It is very usual for there to be a lot of activity in the kitchen from early in the morning, as everybody participates in the preparation of the meal. Obviously there has to be the stuffed turkey, the most important factor of the party. Apart from this indispensable food, corn bread, "jacket" potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie are among other dishes served.
It has to be said that tradition decrees that the presiding President has to save one turkey from being cooked and to spend the rest of its days in a zoo.
Another important part of this party is decoration, it's like Christmas when we decorate our homes, so they hang up adornments related to autumn: pumpkins, table centres with candles, pine cones and nuts. The tablecloth and napkins will have motifs in colours related to the day, orange, green, red and brown.
It is also traditional to watch the parade that is broadcast on television as it takes place in New York and is sponsored by the department store of Macy's. Three hours of parading with balloons, popular children's characters, musical bands and floats. In fact, on the last float Father Christmas appears to symbolize the beginning of the Christmas season.
One of the other activities popular on this day is to watch an American football match on TV, in fact, three matches of the National League are played.
As if this weren't enough, the day after Thanksgiving Day is Black Friday. After the celebrations it is not at all strange to see Americans in shopping malls wanting to take advantage of all the offers and discounts available on this day. It is on Black Friday that Americans do most of their Christmas shopping.
It is obvious that Thanksgivind Day is a very important day in the United States, but maybe what is most relevant is the fact that families get together with their loved ones. whom they probably have not seen for months and enjoy giving thanks for all that they have despite any problems and worries they may have. Happy Thanksgiving Day to all.