Thanksgiving Day and Why does the US Celebrate it with Turkey?

Thanksgiving is many Americans’ favorite holiday. It is usually celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. In fact, this year Thanksgiving Day falls on the 24th of November. On this wonderful national holiday, everyone tries to be united with his/her family to enjoy a special meal. It is a good opportunity for spending a great time together and enjoying yummy turkey. Besides turkey- the star dish of this holiday, you can find other mouth-watering dishes on Thanksgiving tables. Potatoes, cranberry sauce, as well as pumpkin pie and vegetables are also typical of Thanksgiving menu.

In addition to that, parades have become an essential part of Thanksgiving Day. These parades are really so exciting, you can see marching bands, performers, cartoon characters etc. In this article, you will find answers to these questions: What is the history of Thanksgiving? Why do Americans eat turkey on this day?

What is the history of Thanksgiving Day?

It is interesting to note that the history of Thanksgiving Day dates back to November of 1621. So, what happened? In 1621 religious refugees, known as Pilgrims, who lived at the Plymouth Plantation had a successful corn harvest. In order to celebrate this great event, they organized a special feast and invited Native Americans as well. Among the guests was also the Wampanoag chief Massasoit. This harvest was vital for Pilgrims as in winter of the previous year many of them died because of hunger. Thus, we can say that this was ‘’the first celebration of Thanksgiving Day’’, which lasted for 3 days.

As a matter of fact, there is no concrete and reliable information concerning the exact menu of that day. Certain states and colonies were happily celebrating Thanksgiving Day for more than 2 centuries on different days. It is true that only in 1863, the President Abraham Lincoln declared that Thanksgiving is a national day. So, thanks to Lincoln’s efforts, Americans started celebrating Thanksgiving on the final Thursday of November. Later, in 1941 Thanksgiving Day became an official national holiday.

Why do Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

As it is known, turkey is the tastiest and essential component of the Thanksgiving table.  Have you ever wondered why Americans eat turkey on this holiday?  As a matter of fact, there is a lot of mystery concerning the history of the Thanksgiving turkey.  No accurate information exactly how this bird became the vital element of Thanksgiving Day is available today. However, there are a few theories. Let’s refer to some of them.

Taking into account American settlers’ letters, beef and fowl were the main dishes of the harvest celebration in 1921. Today historians cannot provide any data related to the types of the fowls that Pilgrims served on that day. But Edward Winslow writes that before ‘’the epic dinner’’ Pilgrims initiated a turkey hunting trip. Another interesting theory is that the Thanksgiving turkey is connected with the Queen of England. Thus, in the 16th century, Spanish ships were about to attack England, but these ships sunk at the halfway. Queen Elizabeth was having dinner when she received this news. The legend says that this was such a huge joy for Elizabeth that she asked for another goose.  Certain historians are of the opinion that the queen’s actions inspired early settlers. As a result, they decided to roast a turkey instead of a goose.

Make Thanksgiving Day as special as you can. We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving. May love and happiness be your best companions during this holiday season.


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