In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Until I was on email lists with Canadian and United Kingdom authors, I never gave much thought to the differences in the holidays we celebrate and the way we celebrate them. In Canada, Thanksgiving has already come and gone, and it’s referred to there as Box Day. It has to do with giving away food. Maybe one of our readers can explain better.
Did you know that besides America and Canada, six other nations also celebrate an official Thanksgiving Day? Those nations are Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Korea, Liberia, and Switzerland. Just today the young man who does my nails told me he would be eating at his brother’s home, and they would be cooking turkey Vietnamese style, cut up and served with vegetables. Traditions are a big part of the US Thanksgiving holiday, and the styles of celebration are as diverse and the families who make up our country.
From the first Thanksgiving to today’s turkey burgers, turkeys are an American tradition dating back centuries. According to the National Turkey Federation, 95 percent of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Regional twists offer variations on the traditional roasted bird, including coffee rubbed turkey from Hawaii, salt encrusted turkey from New England, and deep-fried turkey from the South.
Throughout the United States, football on Thanksgiving Day is as big a part of the celebration as turkey and pumpkin pie. Dating back to the first intercollegiate football championship held on Thanksgiving Day in 1876, traditional holiday football rivalries have become so popular that a reporter once called Thanksgiving “a holiday granted by the State and the Nation to see a game of football.”
The first American Thanksgiving Day parade was held in 1920, organized by Gimbel’s Department Store in Philadelphia, not Macy’s as most people believe. The NYC Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade tradition actually began in 1924, and has grown into an annual event of balloons, bands, and floats, enjoyed by more than 46 million people each year in person and on TV.
Does your family fight over the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey? Known as a “lucky break” the tradition of tugging on either end of a fowl’s bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying “wish” dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition on to America.
For me, having the entire family together is the best part of Thanksgiving. My family has evolved however. It used to be my parents and my brothers and all my kids getting together. Now my brothers have their own families, my dad’s gone, and my mom takes turns between her children’s homes, so our family dinner involves my children and their spouses and all of their children, and sometimes friends or other relatives.
For a good many years I hosted the event and cooked most of the food, but for the past few years we’ve gathered at my oldest daughters’. I’m still required to bring sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and pies. We start out early so we have the entire day together. The females gather in the kitchen to peel potatoes and gab. The cousins do what cousins do and enjoy each other’s company, while the guys check out the football games. No matter how cold it is, there’s usually a live basketball or football game – I’m a great cheerleader and photographer.
After dinner, there are the Friday sale ads to read (the Friday after Thanksgiving is the hugest US shopping day of the year) and we usually set up board games beside the pumpkin and pecan pies and peanut butter balls.
Last, but certainly not least, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for the people and blessings of the past year. From pre-meal prayers to providing holiday meals to the homeless, the holiday is truly a celebration of praise and thanksgiving.
From all of us at Petticoats and Pistols, we want to thank you authors and readers for helping us launch our site and for being part of its success. We appreciate you and your devotion to western romances and all aspects of these cowboys! We’re thankful for your interest, comments, the links and referrals, and we’re grateful to be part of your lives.