By Charlie Loran • 26 November 2020 • 12:55
THANKSGIVING Day is a national holiday in the United States, and Thanksgiving 2020 occurs today, Thursday, November 26.
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers, a collection of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World.
One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now commonly known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Abenaki Native American who greeted them in English.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, Governor William Bradford organised a celebratory feast and invited a group of the f 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.
In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration now centres on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends.
Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday, may or may not have been on offer when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast in 1621.
Today, however, nearly 90 per cent of Americans eat the bird on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate.
Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.
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Manchester born mummy with a two year old diva (2020), living on the Costa del Sol for just short of a decade.
Former chef and restaurateur, holistic health fanatic and lover of long words.
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