mericans are already busy preparing for one of the main national holidays – Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In 2020, Thanksgiving Day in the United States falls on November 26th. In Canada, it will be celebrated on the second Monday of October, namely October 12. Who do Americans thank on this day and how is the holiday’s traditional celebration held in the USA and Canada?
Мы в Joy-pup не могли пройти мимо такого важного события и собрали несколько интересных фактов о Дне благодарения. Читайте о традициях, истории и особенностях его празднования в Канаде и в США.
The Joy-pup editorial team couldn’t miss such an important event and has collected some interesting facts about Thanksgiving. Read about traditions, history and peculiarities of its celebration in Canada and the USA.
Thanksgiving Day 2020: where, when and why is it celebrated?
You could have noticed time after time that in American films and TV shows, many events take place on Thanksgiving Day. This is no coincidence, because this holiday gathers all family members at a festive dinner, makes people travel hundreds of kilometers to say “love”, “forgive” or “thank you” to each other.
The date of this traditional American holiday changes annually: according to the decision of the US Congress, since 1941 Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In Canada, there is also a certain day on which it is customary to thank God and loved ones for all the good. For Canadians, this is the second Monday in October. Thanksgiving is also celebrated in the Caribbean and Liberia.
What should people be thankful for on this day? First of all – for the harvested crop and for the food on the festive table. Also, family members say “thank you” to each other for the gifts received throughout the year.
Where does the tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving come from?
Thanksgiving Day is the first national holiday of North American residents. In 1620, the first settlers from England arrived at the shores of the New World. They landed on the area which is now the American state of Massachusetts, and founded the Plymouth Colony there. Needless to say, that poor fellows didn’t know how to cultivate the land or how to feed themselves in a new place.
Then the Native Americans (Indians) showed the pilgrims how to grow cereals, in particular, corn. The next year, after the harvest, the newly-minted Americans organized a huge feast of gratitude and invited the Indians to it. Since then, it has been customary to thank God and remember the generosity of the indigenous population of the United States.
Traditional activities and meals for Thanksgiving Day 2020
We have already talked about the fact that on Thanksgiving Day the whole family gathers at a festive table to have a delicious meal and spend time together. Many Americans visit their relatives in other cities and states. Therefore, it is also time for travelling. In addition, US residents can all have rest in the country or go to Disneyland – which is also a good tradition!
As part of preparation for the celebration of Thanksgiving, the hostesses, according to tradition, cook the following dishes:
- stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce;
- cornbread with meat gravy;
- sweet potatoes (yam);
- mashed potatoes;
- green bean casserole
- pumpkin pie.
The turkey is stuffed with bread and onions, butter and spices. Thanksgiving Day also has a traditional drink – apple cider. If there are vegans among relatives and guests (which has become a common thing lately), then a vegetarian turkey made from tofu is cooked for them. Also, meat dishes are replaced with zucchini, salads, fruit and vegetable dishes.
Chestnuts, nuts, autumn leaves, yellow, orange and red chrysanthemums are used as decorations for the Thanksgiving table. Different berries and fruits, like apples, pumpkins, oranges, corn and grapes, are also very popular.
In Canada, except the above-mentioned dishes, apple pie and turkey dumplings are also cooked for Thanksgiving Day.
Turkey is everywhere – the main symbol of Thanksgiving
In addition to the fact that the turkey is cooked for the festive table, everything around is decorated with the image of this bird. Inflatable toys in the form of a turkey can be found on the streets of American cities, “bird” symbols are also used when decorating dishes and making festive crafts. So, turkey even became an important element of the autumn manicure.
Interesting to know
One of the most famous traditions is also the rite of “pardoning a turkey”. On the eve of Thanksgiving, the President of the United States reads out a pardon order for the “national turkey” and her deputy, the “vice turkey.” The comic ceremony usually takes place on the lawn near the White House, after which the country’s main turkey and its deputy go to the zoo.
The rite of forgiving or pardoning a turkey is a longstanding tradition of the White House. It gives the birds guarantee that they won’t be eaten at the President’s gala dinner, but will be cherished for the rest of their life at the zoo. By the way, the heroes of the occasion are chosen from 30 feathered candidates by open voting.
American football, parade and shopping: Thanksgiving Day activities
Thanksgiving is about more than food and family gatherings. Some Americans spend this holiday actively, attending traditional football matches, costume parades and spectacular firework shows.
One of the most popular Thanksgiving events is the parade hosted by the world’s largest department store Macy’s in New York. The festive procession stretches from Central Park to 34th Street in Manhattan, where the supermarket is located. Parade participants, dressed in festive costumes, carry huge inflatable figures in the form of characters from popular cartoons and comics through the streets of New York.
Tons of viewers gather to watch the parade and it’s also broadcasted on TV. For example, 3.5 million people watched the festive procession in Manhattan last year. What is the secret of this holiday? The fact is that after Thanksgiving Day, another traditional period for Americans starts – New Year’s sales.
The very next day, on the so-called “Black Friday“, US residents will start storming stores in search of holiday discounts.
Thanksgiving Day 2020 – online broadcasting
There will be no traditional Macy’s Thanksgiving parade in New York this year. In the light of the coronavirus pandemic, the event planners decided to have the famous parade online. They want to preserve decade-old tradition, but also take care of the American citizens’ health.
Although there will be no parade, the spectacular show can be watched on TV, just like every year. The Macy’s network, which determined the date of the Thanksgiving Day celebration, said that huge helium balloons and floats, performers and even Santa Claus will be present at the current event. Instead of the usual 2.5 miles long route, the parade will be held on Herald Square. The annual balloon inflation that normally takes place on the Upper West Side the night before has also been canceled.
So how will the 2020 Macy’s Thanksgiving parade go? The shows will be recorded over two days, with a 75% reduction in the number of participants. All performers must distance themselves from each other and wear face masks.
Where can we watch the 94th Annual Thanksgiving Parade? It will be broadcasted on NBC on Thursday, November 26, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm local time.
And do you have any plans for Thanksgiving Day?