Thanksgiving in the United States

written by Kotty Shepard on Friday, November 23, 2018

Eating turkey and pumpkin pie, watching college football, and spending time with loved ones are just some United States Thanksgiving Day traditions.

For us in the U.S., Thanksgiving kicks off the winter holiday season. 

Why we celebrate Thanksgiving?

The fourth Thursday in November is “Thanksgiving,” a national holiday in the U.S. It was proclaimed a national holiday by our first president, George Washington, in 1789, but it traces its origin to the 1621 harvest celebration held by the first European settlers “Pilgrims” and Native Americans. Over the course of history, the holiday has come to include prayers of thankfulness, a plentiful meal, sharing with the poor, and coming together with family and friends. Most Americans eat roast turkey as a part of their Thanksgiving Day meal.

How do people celebrate Thanksgiving?

People incorporate a variety of activities into their day:

  • Visiting family and friends – people travel making this holiday the busiest travel of the year on roads and at airports
  • Watching or playing American football – people watch televised football games, go to games or organize backyard football games
  • Pumpkin chucking contests – people race to see who can throw a pumpkin the farthest
  • Viewing a televised broadcast of the world’s largest parade – the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which takes place in New York City, is famous for its marching bands, giant inflatable balloons depicting popular characters, decorative floats, singers/dancers and celebrities
  • Turkey pardon – the President of U.S. pardons a turkey from slaughter allowing it to roam free on a farm rather than being eaten
  • Volunteering – giving time to serve the less fortunate by providing meals to the poor, or, visiting hospitals and nursing homes
  • Turkey trot – towns host walks or runs on Thanksgiving morning before the feast, often to raise money for charitable causes

Celebrating Thanksgiving in traditional and nontraditional ways

The United States is considered a melting pot composed of people from all around the world. This allows for an amazing blend of cultures and beliefs that people incorporate into their Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

While some people celebrate Thanksgiving with a traditional turkey meal, other people will include a turkey and also food from their culture. No matter what, everyone celebrates in their own unique way and has a wonderful time.

Traditions in Different Bucher Employee’s Homes



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