What, when, where, and why? Let’s take a look back at the tales and traditions behind one of the biggest feasts we celebrate each year, Thanksgiving Day.
When Is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving Day sets in motion the most exciting festivities of the year.
At first, former U.S. President Abraham Lincoln chose the last Thursday of November for Thanksgiving Day. However, because there are times when November have four or five weeks, in 1939, then president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, officially moved it to the fourth Thursday of the same month. This was only approved by the U.S. Congress a couple of years later.
This year, Thanksgiving Day falls on November 23, a day before Black Friday (which for a lot of us is a buzz word for the biggest super sale ever).
We are, of course, talking about American Thanksgiving. Because in Canada, they celebrate this annual holiday every second Monday of October.
The First Thanksgiving
The history of Thanksgiving is a tale that’s been told perhaps a thousand times already, yet it’s one worth sharing over and over.
According to experts, the first Thanksgiving Day happened way back 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. Pilgrims, or the religious refugees from England, extended an invitation to the neighboring Native Americans, the local Wampanoag tribe, to feast with them after a fruitful harvest.
The pilgrims believe the plentiful bounty calls for merriment, because this wasn’t the case last year, where half of their brothers died from hunger caused by a futile growing season.
Apparently, in the olden days, people take the “work hard, but party hard-er” rule, as the first Thanksgiving feast lasted not one but for three days.
Flowers for Thanksgiving Day
Today, Thanksgiving Day is still all about family, friends, feasting, and being thankful for a bountiful harvest, whether literally or figuratively.
As with all kinds of special occasions, flowers make Thanksgiving more unforgettable and beautiful. Aside from transforming your home or your tablescape into a masterpiece, they also make tasteful and thoughtful Thanksgiving hostess gifts.
Don’t know what to get? Here are a few tips:
- Choose fall-themed flower arrangements in various shades of red, yellow, orange, or burgundy.
- For a harvest-inspired Thanksgiving centerpiece, there are pumpkin flowers or edible arrangements with fruits, berries, or vegetables that you can buy online or make yourself.
- If you’re getting fresh flowers as a gift for your Thanksgiving host, an arrangement that comes with a vase or a planter instead of a bouquet is always a more practical option.
When in doubt, go for orchids and you’ll never go wrong. Trust us. They are exquisite, long-lasting, and are always in vogue, if you will, whatever the season or occasion.
Other flowers in season include dahlias, roses, calla lily, and chrysanthemum. On a different note, succulents are your savior if your host is a male – or a self-confessed plant lady at that.
Why We Eat Turkey On Thanksgiving
For the record, there is no credible historical proof that the English pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe truly ate turkey on the first Thanksgiving. If anything, sources say the menu surely included goose, lobster, cod, deer, and harvest crops, otherwise known the Three Sisters – corn, beans, and squash.
There are some unbacked theories though that may explain why turkey is a staple food on Thanksgiving. One was that a pilgrim by the name of Edward Snow mentioned a turkey hunt before the feast on one of his letters. Some say turkey should have been one of the dishes since it’s native and ubiquitous in North America even during those times.
But whatever, Americans love having turkey for Thanksgiving. That’s one thing the stats can prove. In fact, the National Turkey Federation estimates it’s a whopping 88 percent of Americans. That’s about 46 million turkeys cooked for the very occasion in the country every single year.
Turkey Gets Presidential Pardon
Interestingly, every year, the U.S. president chooses one specific turkey and spares it from being slaughtered and becoming one family’s dinner. This rather odd Thanksgiving tradition started during President Harry S. Truman’s administration back in 1947.
Former president Barack Obama once pardoned Courage, a heavy-weight, 45-pound turkey, who was sent to Disneyland and who worked as the theme park’s extra-fluffy grand marshal for its Thanksgiving Day parade.
Stressing about Thanksgiving dinner? Here’s How to Set a Formal Table for Thanksgiving Like a Pro.
Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade
There are several Thanksgiving Day parades taking place simultaneously in different parts of the country. However, the first to start this tradition and probably the grandest one, too, is Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York.
The iconic shopping mall held their first ever parade back in the 1920s with animals from the Central Park Zoo as its main attraction. The six-mile parade originally took the route from 45th Street in Harlem and ended at Herald Square. However, that route was changed more recently, much to many New Yorkers’ dismay.
Many years from its inception, Macy’s annual Thanksgiving Day parade still leaves our jaws hanging with those colorful giant balloons, marching bands, and the works.