Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States every year on the fourth Thursday of November. This year the day falls on November 26. The day encompasses religious and secular aspects, being both a harvest festival and a festival of family. This day is the day with the highest food consumption of the year.
History of Thanksgiving Day:
According to Nationalcalendar.com, in November 1621, after the first successful corn harvest, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast. He invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. Now remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving” although the Pilgrims themselves may not have used the term at the time the festival lasted for three days.
While no record exists of the historic banquet’s menu, the Pilgrim chronicler Edward Winslow wrote in his journal that Governor Bradford sent four men on a “fowling” mission in preparation for the event and that the Wampanoag guests arrived bearing five deer. Historians suggest that many of the dishes likely used traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. Because the Pilgrims had no oven and the Mayflower’s sugar supply had dwindled by the fall of 1621, the meal did not feature pies, cakes, or other desserts, which have become a hallmark of contemporary celebrations.
Why Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with Turkey?
It is believed that the birds were chosen because they are large enough to feed many people, and they don’t serve a purpose like laying eggs or making milk. More than 50 million turkeys are served in the US every year for Thanksgiving.
Ronald Reagan was the first president to “pardon” a turkey, in 1987. His successor, George HW Bush, made the pardoning ceremony into a White House tradition from 1989 onwards.
In 1953, the influential food corporation Swanson overestimated how much turkey would be consumed on Thanksgiving and had to get creative with the 260 tons of leftover meat. Using 5,000 aluminum trays and an assembly line of hand-packers, the corporation created a Thanksgiving-inspired meal with the aforementioned turkey, cornbread dressing and gravy, peas, and sweet potatoes, selling the whole thing for a grand total of 98 cents. In the first full year of production, they sold ten million of them, and birthed the prepackaged frozen meal industry.