A national holiday, Thanksgiving is celebrated in the countries of United States and Canada. Originally, it was celebrated to offer thanks for the blessing of the harvest and for the preceding year. It is celebrated every year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Few other places around the world also observe similar celebrations. Although, Thanksgiving partakes historical roots in cultural and religious traditions, for quiet long now it has been celebrated in a secular manner as well.
When is Thanksgiving Day 2016?
Thursday, November 24 will be observed as Thanksgiving Day for 2016.
History of Thanksgiving
The chronicles of Thanksgiving dates back to 1621 celebrations of the Plymouth Plantation, where the sacred refugees from England popularly known as the Pilgrims send an invitation to the local Native Americans for a harvest feast following a particularly successful growing season.
The preceding year's harvests had failed miserably and in the winter of 1620, almost half of the pilgrims starved to death.
Fortuitously for the rest, members of the local Wampanoag tribe educated the Pilgrims growing of corn, beans and squash (the Three Sisters). The tribe also taught them to catch fish and collect seafood.
Although there are only two contemporary accounts relating to the 1621 Thanksgiving, it’s quite clear that Turkey was not a part of the menu. The three-day stretched feast included lobster, goose, deer and cod.
There are a number of theories relating to the serving of Turkey on Thanksgiving.
- Amongst the most famous ones which says that Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote a letter about the now-famous meal in 1621 which cited a turkey hunt before the supper.
- Another very common theory states that it was Queen Elizabeth I who was the inspiration behind the meal. She was having her dinner when she heard of the Spanish ships sinking in on their route to attack England. Accordingly, the queen was so thrilled of the news that she ordered another goose be served. Many claim that the early US settlers roasted turkeys as they were motivated by the queenie’s actions.
- One more theory states that since wild turkeys are native to North America, they were a natural select for the early settlers.
Classic Thanksgiving dishes
The classic Thanksgiving dishes include –
- Stuffing (also known as dressing)
- Mashed potatoes with gravy
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Green beans
- Cranberry sauce
Who set the date of Thanksgiving Day?
'The National Thanksgiving Proclamation' was the first formal declaration of Thanksgiving in America. The first President of the United States, George Washington made this declaration on October 3, 1789.
Then in 1846, famous author Sarah Josepha Hale salaried a one-woman campaign for Thanksgiving to be recognized as a true national holiday.
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