Everything You Should Know About Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving seems to be the holiday that never changes. Family and good food are the basics. Rituals and traditions, like the move from the “kiddie table” to the “adult table,” still remain for many families across the country. But as we get older, and the cultural landscape of the United States changes, Thanksgiving myths and customs are being re-examined or revitalized. Here are a few ideas and traditions that have changed:

1.      The “First” Thanksgiving: The first Thanksgiving was not started by Pilgrims in 1621. It was tradition to give thanks to God over a feast long before the Pilgrims landed in the New World. In the United Kingdom and on the European continent, many days out of the year were dedicated to feasting; this became quite common there and in the New World before Thanksgiving was made a national holiday in 1863. Due to the large efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” the 1621 version of Thanksgiving, with Pilgrims and Native Americans feasting on turkey and side dishes, became the standard and is still looked at as the absolute history of the holiday.

2.      The “All-American” Holiday: Thanksgiving is not only celebrated in the U.S., but is celebrated in different versions around the world. For example, Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving are the same in ideals and purpose, but differ in history and customs. First, Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October! And there is no Black Friday in Canada. The biggest shopping day of the year for Canada is the day after Christmas, called Boxing Day.

3.      No One Eats the Same Meal: The big turkey dinner has always been the norm, but that is quickly changing as the U.S. is becoming a multicultural melting pot, as well as interested in different kinds of foods. Forget the turkey! Many households will be serving goose, ham, or chicken as the centerpiece of their family dinner. The “turducken,” a chicken stuffed inside a duck, which is stuffed inside a turkey, has also become a popular holiday meal. Italian-American families may serve traditional Italian dishes, such as lasagna. Jewish families might have sweet kugel, a noodle dish with cinnamon and raisins. Families with vegetarian diets enjoy Tofurky, which is tofu and wheat protein roast stuffed with vegetables.







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