What Is Thanksgiving?Key facts, traditions and recipes to know
If you’re a fan of American movies or TV, you’ve probably seen the following scene before: A family gathers around a massive feast — typically involving a whole turkey, mashed potatoes and pie — then takes turns saying what they’re thankful for.
Every fourth Thursday in November, this scene unfolds in homes across the United States on a national holiday known as Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is celebrated in Canada, Brazil and other countries on various dates, but “American Thanksgiving” has its very own history and traditions. So what exactly is the story behind this special day? Keep reading for some key facts and Thanksgiving-ready recipes to cook with your family this fall.
What is Thanksgiving?
The first Thanksgiving celebration is said to have taken place in Massachusetts in 1621, when English settlers in the Plymouth colony shared a fall harvest feast with Wampanoag Native Americans. The colony’s governor, William Bradford, organized the feast to celebrate the settlers’ first successful corn harvest after a brutal first winter on the North American continent. It was a member of the Patuxet tribe, Squanto, who taught the malnourished colonists how to cultivate corn and survive on the land.
In 1863, in the middle of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day a national holiday to be held each November.
What do people do on Thanksgiving?
Today, Thanksgiving is one the busiest travel days of the year in the U.S., as friends and family members gather nationwide to cook, eat and celebrate together. Popular traditions include a massive annual parade in New York City featuring giant balloons, floats and performances (Due to Covid-19, the 2020 parade will be virtual). At the White House, the U.S. president receives a gift of two live turkeys every year.
This year, Thanksgiving will take place on Thursday, November 26.
What does a typical Thanksgiving dinner look like?
It’s not unusual for families to spend an entire day (or two) preparing their Thanksgiving dinner. Traditional foods include turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes and stuffing. It’s also customary to serve pie for dessert. Popular flavors include pumpkin, pecan and apple.
Thanksgiving recipes from Jones Dairy Farm
Stir-fried Brussel Sprouts and Ham
Another great side dish, these brussel sprouts will add a pop of color and flavor to your feast. Recipe here.
Mini Pumpkin Cakes With Candied Bacon
It’s all about pumpkin-flavored desserts during this national holiday. These miniature sweets come topped with crunchy bacon. Recipe here.