It always brings beautiful memories when I think of the time, my husband and I went to Seattle to celebrate Thanksgiving with our son and his wife's family.
Thanksgiving was a new experience for us as we don't celebrate it in Mexico, England or Australia (except for a small island). These are the countries I have been living most of my life.
Despite the fact that we lived in San Diego, California for four years, we didn't have an American family back then. When our youngest son married his lovely American fiance from Seattle, it was then, we could experience what a true Thanksgiving celebration was.
This year, we are in Australia. We won't be joining them on this occasion, however, as the day is approaching I take great pleasure on such fond memories.
When is Thanksgiving?
It always falls on the fourth Thursday in November. This year, it is on Thursday, November 28.
Thanksgiving is surely the most celebrated holiday in America and it may be the most important dinner of the year. For us, who are not Americans, it was a totally foreign holiday when we first arrived in San Diego, however, we always felt there was a special Thanksgiving magic on that particular day.
History of Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving is a Federal holiday in the United States. It has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789. President Franklin D. Roosevelt made it an official holiday in 1939 and by 1941 Congress approved it.
The "First Thanksgiving" was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621 in what is now Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Refugees from England, known as Pilgrims, invited the local Native Americans to a harvest feast after they experienced a successful season of productivity growth. The sentiment is that the settlers wanted to show their gratitude to the natives for their help by hosting a large feast.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of the close family and friends and the fall harvest. At its heart, the holiday holds a deep sense of gratitude. It is a day to “give thanks.”
Thanksgiving is the beginning of the fall-winter holiday season, along with Christmas and the New Year, in American culture.
Amazing Thanksgiving Meal
I enjoyed very much seeing how the whole family took great care of planning this special day. Families and even friends come together, some of them travel long distances to share the day with their loved ones to share a very special meal.
It’s probably not surprising that there’s an American holiday based solely around eating, As a result of the size of Thanksgiving dinner, Americans eat more food on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year.
The following were some of the traditional dishes we enjoyed on the day:
Turkey, Ham, Stuffing and Dressings, Mash Potatoes, Cranberry Sauce, Sweet Corn, Sweet Potato, Vegetable sides, such as Squash, Brussels Sprouts, Green Bean Casserole, Salads, Bread Rolls, Pumpkin pie, Apple pie, and much more.
Thanksgiving dinner is delicious but the leftovers are often even better. A combination of roast turkey, bread, stuffing and cranberry sauce makes a succulent Thanksgiving sandwich.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The Thanksgiving Day Parade has been a holiday institution since 1924. From balloon versions of cartoon characters to performances by popular musicians, casts of Broadway shows, and marching bands from all over the country, for everyone to enjoy.
Football Games to Watch
This is an activity that our family enjoys very much. American football is one of the many traditions in American culture that is associated with Thanksgiving Day.
A variety of games are scheduled to play over the course of the weekend, sports fans have plenty of options on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday) and the following weekend (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday)
For those who are not in sports, day-long sitcoms, movie marathons or anything you can think of on TV. Curling up on the couch is blissfully acceptable on Thanksgiving.
Every family has their own unique way of celebrating Thanksgiving. Playing a competitive board game make Thanksgiving extra special.
A Celebration for Everyone
Since Thanksgiving is not connected with any religion, it's one of the most inclusive holidays around. Anyone can enjoy Thanksgiving and the traditions that go along with it.
Black Friday & Cyber Monday
The earliest evidence of the phrase Black Friday applied to the day after Thanksgiving in a shopping context. The term originated in Philadelphia, where it described the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that would occur on the day after Thanksgiving.
Many stores offer highly promoted sales on Black Friday and open very early. Black Friday has routinely been the busiest shopping day of the year in the United States. It is a public holiday in more than 20 states and is considered the start of the US Christmas shopping season.
Many non-retail employees and schools have both Thanksgiving and the following Friday off, which, along with the following regular weekend, makes it a four-day weekend, thereby increasing the number of potential shoppers.
For those who don’t like crowds, Cyber Monday was invented as the online shopping equivalent on the following Monday – and increasingly a big deal all over the world.
Our time with the family celebrating Thanksgiving was one of the best time we have ever had. But, it is important to remember that the original intent of the holiday was to show appreciation to the family and friends, and Thanksgiving brought us together.
Why Does a Small Territory of Australia Observe Thanksgiving?
It may come as a surprise but many residents of Australia’s Norfolk Island celebrate every year Thanksgiving.
Norfolk is an Australia Island, hundreds of miles away from both Australia and New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean.
The American festival is the highlight of Norfolk Island’s Taste of Norfolk festival, which runs for three days in November.
Back in the 19th century, Norfolk Island was a British penal colony. It also became the home of the descendants of the H.M.S. Bounty’s mutineers and their Tahitian captives. American whaling ships made it a frequent port of call and they brought with them many American recipes, such as cornbread and pumpkin pies.
American trader Isaac Robinson is credited as the man who brought Thanksgiving on Norfolk Island in the mid-1980s. The whaler settled on Norfolk as a Burns Philp & Co Ltd and later became Norfolk’s Registrar of Lands and the island’s first United States consul.
“In those days American whalers made frequent calls, and Robinson proposed dressing the church up American-style for Thanksgiving,” Robinson told the International Business Times.
One thing is for sure, Thanksgiving, giving thanks, showing gratitude and appreciation can be shared and celebrated any time of the year by all.
If you celebrate Thanksgiving in your country, please share your experiences. We'd love to hear from you.
To Your Success,