How much do you know about Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday of November and in Canada on the second Monday of October.
The Origins of the Feast:
This national holiday has Christian origins that date back to 1621.
It may come as news to many that the first settlement of the Pilgrim Fathers was a village called Plymouth in New England.
When the first Pilgrims came from England to the New World, they had a bad crop in the first year. As a result, many of these settlers died of hunger. The following year they asked the Native Americans what they should plant and cultivate in order to survive, who responded: maize and turkeys.
The Natives who helped the settlers were actually of the Wampanoag tribe.
This collaboration solved the food shortage, and the abundant harvest was celebrated with a common meal with the Natives and a special thanks to God.
On that day, according to tradition, the Pilgrims and Native Americans shared turkey, pumpkin and dried fruit, dishes that have since become a tradition on Thanksgiving.
According to many historians, the first Thanksgiving dishes were prepared according to the Native American usage, with spices and ingredients from their cuisine, such as cranberries.
Since the Pilgrims had not brought sugar from England, we assume that there were no sweets or cakes involved, and that these have only been recently added to the tradition.
Some recent theories talk about the pagan origins of the feast of Thanksgiving Day.
In fact in the history of humanity the bountiful harvest has always been celebrated with feasts and religious rites. Native Americans also had something similar to this custom, the Christian religion is customary to give thanks to God before each meal.
In conclusion, the Thanksgiving holiday is relative to this particular historical event but its roots are linked to much older traditions in human history.
In 1777, the Thanksgiving holiday became official, but was not celebrated by all. It was not until 1789 that George Washington, the first U.S. president, proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving.
After President Lincoln came into office, all the presidents began to give a solemn speech on Thanksgiving Day.
Since 1963, at the behest of President Kennedy, a few days before Thanksgiving Day, a ceremony has taken place in the White House known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation: the President grants two turkeys a “presidential pardon”.
Since 1989, one of the pardoned turkeys inaugurates the parade on Main Street in Disneyland, then both are transferred to the ranch Frontierland, in the same park.
As of 2003, the American people have chosen the name of the turkeys by voting on the White House website. Examples of names include Stars and Stripes (a name that refers to the American flag), Biscuit and Gravy (2004), Apple and Cider (2010), as well as Cobbler and Gobbler (2012).
Thanksgiving Day is a very important holiday that commemorates the origins of the American nation; it is therefore celebrated with parades of floats and festivities of all kinds in every city. The President of the United States is used to celebrating this feast day by eating with the troops.
Closely linked to Thanksgiving day is in the American tradition of Black Friday, occurring on the following Friday, which inaugurates the American holiday shopping season.
Thanksgiving Day is now also related to playing or watching American football, often with the family. It is said that this tradition dates back to 1876, when the first ever championship game was held on Thanksgiving.
A curiosity: there is a street in Florence called Via delle Oche, where geese used to be sold with the intention of preparing the Florentine tables for the feast of All Saints’ Day (November 1). Does this remind you of Thanksgiving?
Today, on the street in this city is found (coincidentally) Robert Langdon’s favorite American bookshop.
This is perhaps unexpected, but also in Florence you can enjoy a real traditional Thanksgiving Dinner, why not try? 🙂
Pictures by Wikipedia, monicastangledweb.com, Dave Dugdale and beforitsnews.com