The real Thanksgiving

Discover the origin and traditions of this very American holiday.

We think we know what Thanksgiving is about, right? Hollywood movies have told us! It’s all about turkey, pie, family gatherings and something about pilgrims living in harmony with natives, right?

You are not far from right, but there’s much more than meets the eye. Keep reading to learn some more about this quintessential American holiday.

History has always been explained in a way that would fit the narrative of what is being told, so basically this particular episode of American History has been tailored to be seen as an ideal world where Pilgrims shared the first feast with the Native Americans. Thanksgiving commemorates this first meal, but it is important to understand the context of this moment and to realise that, this first Thanksgiving feast was also the last. If you want to know more about the first Thanksgiving, watch the following video!

If you put aside the historical confusion, Thanksgiving is a really beautiful holiday. It is a cosy and familiar holiday, a day to be spent with your kin and reflect on the things you’ve got to be thankful for.

There’s no better way to celebrate a family reunion than eating an amazing feast! It echoes the first Thanksgiving meal, but has added a few things during the years. It usually consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, cranberry sauce, corn, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pies. Many families involve the entire family in the food preparation, which makes it more special.

Breaking the turkey's wishbone is part of the celebration too. The wishbone is found attached to the breast, and, by the end of the meal, two people each take one end of the bone, make a wish, and pull. Whoever ends up with the larger part of the bone gets their wish!

Gathering around the TV after or before the meal is now part of the tradition too! For those Americans not living in New York City, watching the big Thanksgiving Macy’s parade is part of the holiday. Marching bands, floats, songs and performances from Broadway musicals, and giant helium-filled balloons fill the parade! Other families also like to watch football games and maybe even play a match outside after lunch.

There’s a tradition that happens every year, which is the Turkey Pardon. Every year the president of the United States of America pardons a Turkey, which will be able to live a happy and long life… not like its fellow comrades, who will be served for dinner all across the country as 46 million turkeys are eaten on Thanksgiving!

Even though this is an American tradition and celebrates a particular historical moment, Thanksgiving is starting to be celebrated around the world, mostly as an excuse for families to gather or for groups of friends to get together before the Christmas time.

Thanksgiving is, nevertheless, a celebration of the harvest. Many cultures celebrate it in different ways! But that’s another story…

An assembly or meeting of people.

Made or adapted with a purpose.

To ignore or act as if we never knew.

A forked bone between the neck and breast of a bird.

A public procession, especially one celebrating a special day or event.

The process of collecting food for future use.

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