If you’re in the mood for a festive celebration, Thanksgiving might be the holiday for you.
Of course, it’s an American national holiday, but the vast majority of people in the UK are at least vaguely aware of Thanksgiving Day.
Featuring in any number of films out there, it involves families coming together to share a feast centred around turkey, take in massive parades and watch American football.
Lots of expat Americans living this side of the Atlantic will celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday 23 November, but many Brits won’t have a clue what exactly is being honoured.
Without exception, Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday of November.
This year that’s Thursday, November 23.
In the US, government offices, businesses and schools close on Thanksgiving Day – with many closing on the Friday after, too, giving employees a four-day weekend.
The traditional Thanksgiving meal revolves around turkey, stuffing and vegetables. You’ll also hear Americans talking about eating yams.
Yams are a starchy root vegetable grown in the Carribean.
But usually when Americans talk about yams, they actually mean sweet potatoes.
The meal is traditionally rounded off with a pumpkin pie.
Many big cities hold a Thanksgiving Day parade, the most famous of which is the Macy’s parade in New York.
The three-hour event features floats, costumes and huge helium balloons in the shape of cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat.
Playing and watching American football is a long held Thanksgiving tradition.
NFL and college have played over the Thanksgiving weekend practically since the game’s invention, and it’s one of the biggest days in the football calendar.
The celebration of Thanksgiving is, in general, a feast to give thanks for the fruits of the previous harvest. In America specifically, it dates back to the 1600s.
There’s some discussion over when the first Thanksgiving was, but many think it dates back to 1621, when the harvest was celebrated by the Pilgrims – Dutch settlers of the Plymouth Colony in what’s now called Massachusetts.
This feast lasted three days, and was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.
It spread through the country and was celebrated on different days in different communities until, in 1789, George Washington declared the first national Thanksgiving Day.
No. Many Indigenous Americans, who were displaced by the settlers, understandably choose not to celebrate Thanksgiving.
Indeed, many groups actively protest against what they see as an offensive glorification of a group of people who plundered and stole their land and brought them, among other delights, syphilis.