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Thanksgiving is a time of joy and happiness, just like Christmas. It is important because it’s a secular holiday where people celebrate gratitude, something we don’t do enough of these days. It’s basically a celebration of the fall harvest. On Thanksgiving day, people like to gather together with their families and friends to enjoy food and gifts.
Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada on different dates each year. Within Canada, it’s celebrated on the second Monday of October, while it falls on the 4th of November in the USA. This day marks giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of a harvest and of the preceding year. In countries like Japan and Germany, the holiday is celebrated under a different name.
So what is the essence behind celebrating Thanksgiving?
The Essence behind Celebrating Thanksgiving
The essence behind celebrating Thanksgiving is based on the 17th-century feast shared by English colonists of Plymouth, a country located in southeastern Massachusetts. This American holiday is believed to be quite rich in legend and full of symbols.
Interaction of Colonists with Wampanoag People
So Plymouth’s Thanksgiving began when a few English colonists decided to go out for ‘fowling’ the turkeys. However, some narratives state that they went hunting geese and ducks because they could bring back enough to feed the company for a week.
Once they caught enough turkeys, geese and ducks, about 90 Wampanoag people surprisingly visited where the company was settled. On the other hand, the 50 English colonists were taken by surprise. However, putting their differences aside, both the groups intermingled for the next few days, and that is how a feast was invented, with the Wampanoag contributing mutton, stew, vegetables, eels, and beer to the feast.
The Beginning of a Feast
The men would eat outdoors while sitting on the barrels or on the ground with the plates in their laps. They would celebrate the feast by drinking liquor, having races, and firing gunshots during this time. This celebration sealed a treaty between them, which lasted until 1675 when King Philip’s war began.
The New England colonists continued this feast and added the component of praying and giving thanks to their God for military victories or for the end of a drought.
Official Status as a Holiday
It was only during the 19th century that ‘Thanksgiving’ became an official holiday thanks to none other than the Northerners for taking over the federal government. However, the real credit goes to the editor of a popular magazine Sarah Josepha Hale who campaigned for national Thanksgiving to be given a national holiday based on promoting unity. In 1863, she finally won over President Abraham Lincoln, who proclaimed it as a national holiday during the Civil War.
Type of Foods included in Thanksgiving Feast
When we think of a thanksgiving menu, we always come up with some classic names such as roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, cakes or pies. But did you know what foods were included on the first-ever Thanksgiving?
Throughout history, we know that the turkey occupies a central place due to its creation of the first feast. But some people also like to keep ducks as a replacement because it is cheaper, and some believe that it was ducks that the English colonists caught and not turkeys.
The first-ever thanksgiving menu had included roasted turkey, cornbread and corn porridge, venison, beer, vegetables and eels. Whereas the modern thanksgiving dinner is much more lavish and fulfilling, consisting of roasted turkey, duck or geese along with mashed potatoes, candied yams, pumpkin pie or shepherd’s pie along with baked cranberry sauce. It includes creamy corns, green bean casseroles, gravy, sweet potato casserole, dinner rolls, macaroni cheese, and stuffing.
4 Things You Probably Didn’t know about Thanksgiving
You might think Thanksgiving is just a simple holiday that is all about sharing food, love, and memories over a hearty feast in the cold month of November with winter approaching fast. But here are 10 things that you probably did not know about Thanksgiving.
1) The Colonists and Pilgrims Never had Access to Forks.
Imagine eating all that food, including meat and porridge, without the use of forks. That would mean the pilgrims and colonists had to use only spoons and knives. This is easy for people who aren’t reliant on forks, but you need a fork to hold the food down while you cut a slice of it for some dishes.
2) America was not the first country to celebrate an Actual Thanksgiving
Contrary to popular belief, it was Canada that hosted the first actual Thanksgiving. The claim is backed by evidence of an English explorer Martin Frobisher landing in Canada in 1578 and celebrating the arrival with her crew with a feast.
3) Macy’s First Thanksgiving Parade Involved Animals and Not Balloons
Animal lovers and animal rights activists would be shocked to know that the much-beloved Macy’s thanksgiving parade started using animals instead of balloons. They would parade animals through the streets of New York, taken on a loan from the Central Park Zoo.
4) Thanksgiving is Also Celebrated in Space
Astronauts also celebrate their share of Thanksgiving in space by having a big feast that includes turkey, desserts and cornbread dressing at the International Space Station.
Our Final Thoughts
Celebrate this year’s Thanksgiving with some 24 packs of fall decorations (Amazon ASIN #B07RGNJYPQ) to put your house in the mood of having a hearty feast with your loved ones. Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that seems like a starter to celebrating Christmas. So the next time you sit down for a feast of Thanksgiving, appreciate the hard work that goes into creating a feast and the essence behind celebrating it.