Keeping in mind the origin of important dates referring to a culture allows us to better understand the customs of an entire country. Next, we will tell you about the most important celebration in the United States and also known worldwide: Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a special celebration that takes place on the fourth Thursday in November and kicks off the end of the year holiday season. This tradition consists of meeting with family and friends to share a dinner in which they are grateful for everything that has happened during the year.
A curious fact is that Thanksgiving is considered one of the most relevant celebrations of the calendar, since it is not linked to any religion or belief, which is why most people join this wonderful tradition.
The original version tells that, in 1621, in Plymouth (Massachusetts), a group of native Indians rescued a group of settlers. The Indians taught them how to grow their own food and in autumn the settlers proposed a celebration where they shared their food.
From that event on, it became customary to hold a harvest festival every year where all the families of the colony met to give thanks and share dinner.
A controversial celebration
On the other hand, it is said that a quite controversial fact is precisely the origin of Thanksgiving, since according to some historians, the first Thanksgiving was actually in Florida and not in Massachusetts.
According to history, on September 8, 1565, the Spanish founded the new settlement of San Agustín. Later, Father López led a Thanksgiving mass and Menéndez – the representative of the Spanish king – ordered that a meal be prepared for everyone, including the natives.
This is curious because it happened 55 years before the Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth. For this reason, Dr. Michael Gannon singled out this meal as the very first Thanksgiving. This suggests that there were Spaniards in Florida before the English arrived in Massachusetts.
It wasn’t always thursday
The celebration on the eve of the arrival of December did not initially have a set date. There was a time in history when it took place on different days until, in 1789, George Washington decreed that Thanksgiving should be celebrated on Thursday, November 26, throughout the country.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln decreed that it be celebrated on the last Thursday in November, and finally, Congress decreed that Thanksgiving be celebrated every fourth Thursday in November, to avoid problems when the month had five Thursdays.
What is for dinner?
The typical dinner par excellence is turkey accompanied by dishes such as baked potatoes, salad, purees and pumpkin, apple or walnut feet. The important thing is to feel grateful for everything received, and to maintain the union between families and friends.
Now, all the citizens gather and parades with floats and large hot air balloons of different characters are held in the main avenues. People often watch TV football games and seasonal specials, and at night people look forward to Black Friday.
Traditions are the basis for the cultural identity of any country. Knowing the origin of them and how they influence their society will open up your world and give you the opportunity to understand their culture and the ability to relate more closely with people.
Pleck, E. (1999). The making of the domestic occasion: The history of Thanksgiving in the United States. Journal of Social History, 773-789.
Silverman, D. J. (2019). This land is their land: The Wampanoag Indians, Plymouth colony, and the troubled history of thanksgiving. Bloomsbury Publishing USA.
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Meta description: We will tell you the most important details about the most important celebration in the United States and also known worldwide: Thanksgiving.