Is Thanksgiving a Public Holiday?
Thanksgiving is a public holiday in the United States, according to Holidays 2021. As is clear from the name, Thanksgiving Day is about showing gratitude and thanking God for the blessings He bestowed upon us.
Thanksgiving in the US is a national holiday. Most businesses, stores, and shops as well as all schools, universities, and government offices remain closed on this day. Public Transportations also do not follow their usual route.
Thanksgiving Day History & Traditions
Thanksgiving celebrations were initially a harvest festival for the natives. Even today the centre of these commemorations remain the Thanksgiving dinner - majorly the Thanksgiving turkey. Let us take a more detailed look at what this day entails.
This is a time for feasting, Thanksgiving dinner, getting together, celebrating life, and thanking God for His various blessings. Thanksgiving day history describes that this day originally began as a harvest festival, and cuisine indigenous to the country still takes centre stage during the Thanksgiving dinner. One of the most important of these is the Thanksgiving turkey.
Why is Thanksgiving Celebrated in the US?
The main reason that Thanksgiving history states behind the celebration of this festival has already been mentioned above. The fourth Thursday of November is a declared holiday in the United States for this commemoration, and this year, 25 of November marks the day.
As mentioned earlier, Thanksgiving was originally a time to thank God for a bountiful harvest. The first Thanksgiving feast held by the Native Americans and the Colonists together was a form of thanks by the latter to the former. The Englishmen thanked the Natives for their help and support to the former in starting a new life in the US. This celebration is said to have continued for three days. After several attempts of the people, finally President Lincoln declared this observance, a public holiday in 1863.
National Day of Mourning
Despite the gusto with which most Americans solemnise Thanksgiving in the US, Native Americans have started opposing the holiday. Many believe that this day marks not only the settling down of the Colonists but also the seizure of Native lands and erasure of their traditions. There are also accusations that the settlers moulded the Thanksgiving history and fabricated the famous feast of "The First Thanksgiving". As a result, many groups have started organising protests and observing ’National Day of Mourning’ on Thanksgiving Day, for their lost heritage.
Public Life on Thanksgiving in the US
Thanksgiving in the US falls on the fourth Thursday of November, and the next day, Black Friday, is also a holiday. Thus, most people take this time to go home and get together during the long weekend. Thanksgiving Dinners with the family is a tradition in the US. In many houses, people would toast before or during dinner and express their gratitude for the things they have. The centrepiece of this Thanksgiving dinner is always the turkey (although some people change that to ham as per their preferences). But it also includes a plethora of other delicious dishes. These majorly consist of mashed potatoes (or any other form), corn (maize), squash, cranberries, green beans, and pumpkin pie
Thanksgiving Dinner: Thanksgiving Turkey Facts
The Thanksgiving Turkey takes centre stage in all Thanksgiving dinners. The popularity of bird as a main dish in the Thanksgiving dinner has led to the day being colloquially known as Turkey day. But what is the reason behind it? Let us discover the answer to that, as well as some fun Thanksgiving turkey facts.
The primary reason behind this fowl being an essential part of the feast was that it was plentiful in the country. Moreover, it was readily available for slaughter at family farms during the commemoration. In addition to this, a single turkey was usually more than enough to feed the family during Thanksgiving dinner, and was only bred for its meat in any case. Charles Dickens and his ’A Christmas Carol’ was another reason that gave this bird popularity as part of the feast. The fact that roast turkey was a favourite of President Lincoln’s and therefore a part of his Thanksgiving dinner simply gave weight to the beliefs, and soon it became tradition across the country.
Now for some Thanksgiving Turkey facts:
- Benjamin Franklin thought that the wild turkey would be a more appropriate national symbol for the newly independent United States. He believed that the turkey was “a much more respectable Bird,” “a true original Native of America,” and “though a little vain and silly, a Bird of Courage."
- The turkey trot, a simple two-step dance that is relatively easy and requires little to no instruction was modelled on the bird’s characteristic walk - short, jerky steps. It was one of the popular dance styles in the US during the late 19th and early 20th century.
- Turkey contains an amino acid tryptophan, which is a natural sedative. Thus, many people believe that this leads to them feeling sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner. But this acid is present in various other foods as well, like chicken, beans, pork, beef, and cheese. In reality, the large amount of food consumed along with the Thanksgiving turkey, as well as the abundant fats and carbohydrates make most people feel lethargic.
- The concept of TV tray dinners was developed because someone at C.A. Swanson & Sons overestimated the amount of Thanksgiving turkeys that would be required. The extra 260 tons of fowl was then sold as the first TV tray dinner. Almost 10 million were sold the first time around.
- Farmers would generally present the President with a turkey during Thanksgiving, which was eaten by the first family. This changed after John F. Kennedy, who was the first president to ’pardon’ a turkey. George W. Bush then turned this into a White House Thanksgiving tradition.
Thanksgiving Day Observances
1. Why does Thanksgiving have such importance in the US?
Thanksgiving in the US is important because it’s a positive holiday which celebrates gratitude, something that is not enough of in the world these days. It also commemorates the fall harvest. Origins of the festival or Thanksgiving history as it is commonly known, can be traced back to the first feast with the Pilgrims, in 1621, which is today called the “First Thanksgiving.”
2. How do they celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA?
Thanksgiving in the US is celebrated by the Americans on the fourth Thursday of November. It is said to celebrate the first meal Colonists shared with the Native Americans to show gratitude for the bountiful harvest and to thank the natives for their help in settling down. This day is about expressing your appreciation and thankfulness by sharing a meal with your loved ones, sometimes also including a religious service.
3. What religion does not believe in Thanksgiving?
The Christian denomination of Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in celebrating Thanksgiving. Instead, the members of this religious sect use this opportunity to increase their door-to-door preaching or evangelism.
4. Why do we eat pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving?
The pumpkin is as essential a part of the Thanksgiving dinner as the turkey. This is because it is considered a symbol of harvest time, and pumpkin pie is a dessert associated with the fall and early winter. Thus, it is usually prepared during Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada, and on other occasions as well when the fruit is in season.
Tl;dr For those who only wish to know When is Thanksgiving Day in 2021? The date is November 25, Thursday.
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