Gobble..Gobble! It’s ‘Turkey Day’ aka ‘Thanksgiving Day’ in America
Mangaluru: Thanksgiving Day in the United States is the premier U.S. family celebration — typically celebrated at home or in a community setting, marked with a substantial feast. Thanksgiving provides an occasion for reunions of friends and families, and it affords Americans a shared opportunity to express gratitude for the freedoms they enjoy as well as food, shelter and other good things. On Thanksgiving Day, when most Americans enjoy a holiday meal with friends and family and give thanks for the good things in their lives, many also take time to prepare and serve meals to the needy. Others donate to food drives, work at food warehouses or deliver groceries to soup kitchens, churches and other charitable groups.
As the anchor of what is for many a four-day holiday weekend, Thanksgiving provides an occasion for family reunions, marks the beginning of the ‘holiday season’ that continues through Christmas and New Year’s Day and, as its name suggests, affords Americans a shared opportunity to express their gratitude for plentiful food and general abundance. This feast is kind of Aastami or Nativity Feast that we celebrate here in India, where family members get together, give thanks and share the harvest meal. Being in India now, I am missing a big thanksgiving meal, which I always had for the last 23 years when I lived in USA. Every year we the family members celebrate ” Thanksgiving Day ” at my brother Rudy’s place in Chicago suburbs, feasting on a sumptuous turkey dinner with a touch of Indian cuisine too. I still remember my sis-in-law cooking a big fat stuffed turkey- and then we eat it with cranberry sauce, veggies, corn bread, pumpkin Pie -and along with this American cuisine, she also cooked our Mangalorean traditional Dukra Mass (Pork) along with Sannas- and of course, Vorn (Mangalorean dessert). And also later in the evening join the neighbours or friends at their homes for the celebrations – and by the end of the night we were fully stuffed and tired consuming all that food and drinks.
As an American Tradition prior to ‘Thanksgiving Day’ US President Donald Trump pardons a Turkey!
Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November every year, and this year it is celebrated on November 23. It has officially been an annual tradition since 1863, when, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwells in the Heavens”. As a federal and popular holiday in the U.S., Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays of the year. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is a part of the broader holiday season.
The event that some Americans commonly call the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in 1621. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days, and was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “thanksgivings”—days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as military victory or the end of a drought, though the 1621 events were likely not a religious observation.
Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal. The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have. Thanksgiving Day parades are held in some cities and towns on or around Thanksgiving Day. In New York city the ” The Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade ” and in Chicago ” The McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade ” are the nation’s two big thanksgiving parades. Some parades or festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season. Some people have a four-day weekend so it is a popular time for trips and to visit family and friends.
Most government offices, businesses, schools and other organizations are closed on Thanksgiving Day. Many offices and businesses allow staff to have a four-day weekend so these offices and businesses are also closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. Public transit systems do not usually operate on their regular timetables. Thanksgiving Day it is one of the busiest periods for travel in the USA. This can cause congestion and overcrowding. Seasonal parades and busy football games can cause disruption to local traffic.
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with lot of fervor and merry-making in America, and it is a time for communal thanksgiving, feeling gratitude, lavish feasts. It is a time to remember the pilgrims. After the United States gained independence, Congress recommended one yearly day of thanksgiving for the whole nation to celebrate. Until recently, people believed Thanksgiving Day to be a celebration of pilgrims, offering food to American-Indians. It however is a day marked as a gesture of thanks and gratitude to Lord Almighty for his blessings. It is also a celebration to mark respect towards American-Indians for teaching the pilgrims how to cook.
Thanksgiving Day is a time of festivity, family meals and reunions in America. Carved turkeys, Pumpkin Pie, Corns, Cranberry Sauce are the traditional dishes adorning the dinner tables in almost every house. A time for feasting, Thanksgiving Day epitomizes the holiday mood of people. Thanksgiving is a time for gifting your family and friends. The day is a time to show your gratitude and respect to your elders, friends, your siblings and also your colleagues. Popular gifts include thanksgiving flowers, jewellery, baked cookie hampers, chocolate gift baskets, candy-wreaths, wine etc.
Thanksgiving day is the official beginning of the Christmas season. USA witnesses maximum sales volume on the very next day. The following Friday after Thanksgiving is famously known as ‘Black Friday’. This is so, because of the standard accounting practice of writing profits in black. The ongoing festive spirit, shopping spree, helps the shopkeepers to register maximum sales and profits. The entire atmosphere during the time is euphoric, people get in a holiday mood. Families visit restaurants, amusement parks, gift each other, decorate their house etc.
Now that ” Thanksgiving Day ” is here, but do we really focus on what Thanksgiving is all about? Or is the heavenly thought of that turkey and dressing, gravy and pumpkin pie the only thing floating in your mind when you hear ” Thanksgiving”? This year let’s celebrate Thanksgiving with more in mind than the idea of devouring that delicious meal. Let us not show our appreciation and gratitude just on this unique day, instead practice it all year long. Although Thanksgiving comes once a year, you could celebrate it every day.
Thanksgiving is the most personal of holidays because to observe it, you must pause to observe your own life. You have to spare a few minutes to be grateful about…well, whatever you’re grateful for in life. For me, enjoying the bountiful things that America had offered me for 23 years, and the privilege of being a US citizen is a blessing. I am thankful for all the opportunities from my family folks, country, church, company, and friends who enabled me to be who I am, for better or worse. They allowed me to experience life in its wonderful aspects and challenges – success and failure. No one could ask for more, or be more grateful.
Blessed is the day that unites family members and friends to share their blessings in prayer and thanksgiving. That’s the beauty of Thanksgiving Day. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. And remember to give thanks all year long, and not just on Thanksgiving Day. Happy Turkey Day! Happy Thanksgiving Day!