History and Traditions of the Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day starts the holiday season in America. While in Great Britain this holiday is just a warm-up before the Yuletide period, for the citizens of the United States, Thanksgiving Day is no less important than Christmas. Maybe it will be a surprise for you, but more Americans celebrate Thanksgiving than Christmas.

History of Thanksgiving Day

First Thanksgiving Day was celebrated almost 400 years ago when Native Americans offered food to the first settlers who were living on the territory of modern Massachusetts. More than a hundred of pilgrims had arrived to America and weren’t able to grow crops, which resulted into deaths of half of the expedition. Indians expressed kindness and taught them how to grow corn and use American soil. As a result, next year they had a rich harvest and in autumn they celebrated the first Thanksgiving Day together with the Indian Chief and 90 Indians who joined the feast and taught settlers to cook new foods.

First National Thanksgiving Proclamation was made by George Washington, the first president of the United States, in 1789. However, it was made a national holiday only in 1863, closer to the end of the Civil War, by Abraham Lincoln, following the efforts of Sarah Hale who had been advocating for this holiday for 17 years. Abraham Lincoln proposed to celebrate this holiday on the fourth Thursday of November and we’re following this tradition until today.

Modern Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving Day 

Classic Thanksgiving Day dishes. There can be no Thanksgiving Day without a turkey. In fact, more than 50 million turkeys are eaten on this holiday every year. Just imagine how many living creatures get slaughtered just because we like to eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Wouldn’t it be more compassionate if we chose a pie as the symbol of this holiday? Speaking about pies, it’s very common to see pumpkin, apple or sweet potato pies on the table during this holiday. 

Annual Macy's parade. Macy’s parade is an annual event that takes place in New York City and is organized to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Cheerleaders, gigantic balloons, pageant of floats and marching bands are what you will see on the streets of New York as a part of Macy’s parade. The history of the parade dates back to 1920s and to the Macy store. At that time, many of those who worked at Macy’s were immigrants and wanted to give the Thanksgiving Day celebrations the scope that they had seen in Europe. The route of Macy’s parade is almost 10 kilometers and it goes through Times Square, Broadway and the Sixth Avenue.

Football! Football is an important element of Thanksgiving holiday. The first Thanksgiving football game was hosted in 1934 on the stadium of the University of Detroit. That game between Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions became a real hit and football became an integral part of the Thanksgiving holiday celebrations.

May all of you have a great Thanksgiving Day in 2017! Stay safe!