American films and series have familiarized us with the culture of the United States to such an extent that we have already adopted many of their customs. We are already fully acquainted with Thanksgiving Day and the various traditions surrounding it, but what exactly is Thanksgiving Day and how did it begin?.
What is it? Thanksgiving Day 2017. We tell you everything, so that this year you don’t miss the most important holiday in the United States
The origins of Thanksgiving Day
Legends about the origins of Thanksgiving abound, but most of them trace its history back to the Protestant Reformation. Be that as it may, all over the world Thanksgiving festivities have always been associated with celebrations following bountiful harvests.
In Canada, the festivities began with the arrival of settlers in 1578 and took place every year thereafter.
In North America, the celebrations revolved around the first immigrants, who arrived in 1620, having fled from England to escape oppression by the Church and poverty. They disembarked at the port of Plymouth, located in present-day Massachusetts. There the native Indians welcomed them, and taught them how to hunt and grow crops. Grateful for having survived a harsh winter, the settlers invited the native Americans to a great feast as a token of appreciation for their help. The feast lasted several days, and set the precedent for the most important date in the American calendar. Thanksgiving.
When do we celebrate Thanksgiving Day?
The first time Thanksgiving officially took place was on 19th February 1795 thanks to George Washington, the first president of the United States. But it was not until 1941 that President Roosevelt fixed the celebration date as the fourth Thursday in November, which is when the festival is celebrated nowadays.
Where and how to celebrate Thanksgiving Day 2017.
Thanksgiving is above all a family occasion, which is why many Americans travel long distances to be with their parents, brothers and sisters so that they can have dinner together. It is quite common to say a prayer in which each person gives thanks for what they have. One of the traditions of this symbolic day is to help people who are worse off, or to invite to dinner any relatives or friends who are alone.
But that is not a custom unique to the United States. Nowadays, Thanksgiving Day has also become popular in Canada, where it is celebrated on the second Monday in October, and on various dates in several other parts of the world including Liberia, Japan and Germany. In addition, Latin Americans who have settled in the United States have made this occasion their own, to give thanks for their jobs and to offer a toast to life in America in general.
The custom of celebrating this special day with friends has become widespread. The few days’ holiday provides a chance to go away for a break. A wooden cabin on a snowy mountain or a getaway to the Polynesian islands of Hawaii are equally valid options for giving thanks for your blessings while exploring a new destination.
In some Caribbean countries, this holiday is also celebrated, so that visiting them is another good way to experience the traditions surrounding Thanksgiving. The Royal Hideaway Playacar hotel, in the idyllic Mexican resort of Playa del Carmen, has created a special program for this day, with shows, yoga or zumba classes, and workshops on making decorative turkeys, while naturally, the hotel’s restaurants will feature a menu appropriate to the occasion.
Text: what to eat on Thanksgiving Day
The traditional Thanksgiving turkey became the highlight of the meal at American tables: oven roasted and almost always stuffed with a paste made with corn and thyme. The meal is accompanied by sweet potatoes, green beans, gravy and biscuits, although every household gives free rein to its imagination by adding more original embellishments. The drink paired with this succulent dish is normally spiced apple cider. For dessert, pecan pie or, the favorite, pumpkin pie, provides the perfect finishing touch to a dinner shaped by tradition.
And if you cannot, or do not want to cook, many supermarkets sell ready meals, which can be ordered in advance so that no family has any excuse when the time comes to enjoy this famous meal.
In recent years, many restaurants and hotels have also begun offering a Thanksgiving menu. This is the case at the Barceló Bávaro hotel, which arranges a special dinner, thus offering an opportunity to enjoy an authentic Thanksgiving stuffed turkey dinner in the Dominican Republic.
The start of Christmas
In the city of New York, one Thanksgiving tradition is the popular giant balloon procession organized each year by the chain store Macy’s in Manhattan; a curious custom started by the store’s employees in 1920. The procession ends with the appearance of Santa Claus to mark the beginning of the Christmas festivities.
For many families, this provides the perfect excuse to spend Thanksgiving putting up the Christmas tree and lights in their homes. The following day sees the official starting shot of the exciting race to buy the gifts that will adorn the festive trees in homes by 25th December.
Black Friday arose from the idea of offering large discounts on gift purchases, and is now a tradition among all kinds of businesses, whether physical or virtual. Another great idea for spending Thanksgiving like a true American.