Learn more about Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is a U.S. holiday, dedicated to giving thanks for the things we have, and celebrating the fall harvest. It typically falls on the fourth Thursday of every November. Thanksgiving was declared a national holiday by president Abraham Lincoln in the year 1863. 

Many Americans generally believe that Thanksgiving is modeled after a 1621 harvest feast shared with the Pilgrims who lived and settled at Plymouth Rock, and the Native American Wampanoag tribe. This is why you see many Thanksgiving decorations with Pilgrim and Native American motifs.

The Thanksgiving holidays are the busiest travel days in the U.S annually, as people travel home to celebrate. It is a time to come together with family and friends, and to feast on a traditional Thanksgiving meal. It is most common to eat stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, collard greens, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, and of course TURKEY! 

Caption: A traditional Thanksgiving meal at home.

There are also many regional variations in side dishes, such as mac and cheese, oyster stuffing, and you may find fried turkey in Texas. Many multicultural dishes are also making their way into Thanksgiving dinner, such as tamales, manicotti, and empanadas. Many families will also have their own personal transitional dishes and sides. 

Aside from eating so much food, other traditional Thanksgiving activities include watching football games, and the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which is held in New York city. The first parade was held in 1924, and was first televised in 1953. This parade features floats, giant balloons of popular characters in pop culture, performances by high school marching bands, local Broadway shows, and Santa Claus is usually seen at the end of the parade to mark the beginning of the holiday season in the U.S. 

Caption: A giant turkey float, and cartoon dog balloon going down a street in NYC for the Thanksgiving parade.

We hope you enjoy Thanksgiving this year with good food and friendship!


Written by: Victoria Hudak, International Student Advisor

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