Today is Thanksgiving – one of the most important holiday celebrations in the United States.
Thanksgiving is celebrated every year, on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s a time when Americans come together with family and friends to celebrate being together and everything that they’re thankful for.
The origins of the Thanksgiving celebrations date back to the early 1600s, when immigrant colonists – known as pilgrims – shared a meal with the indigenous Wampanoag people to thank them for helping them to survive the winter. The tradition evolved over time, but was formally recognised as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863.
It’s a day for food, family, friends, and football – the National Football League, or NFL, always schedules a number of major games on Thanksgiving.
The Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City is also a major event of the holiday.
When it comes to food, there’s a number of traditional dishes that you can expect to see as part of a Thanksgiving feast. First and foremost, Thanksgiving is about turkey. It’s estimated that around 46 million turkeys are killed each year for Thanksgiving celebrations. One of the obligations of the President of the United States is to ‘pardon’ a Thanksgiving turkey that is ceremonially presented to them.
Corn and sweet potato are also celebrated, and pumpkin pie is generally served for dessert.
On social media, you’ll see a lot of people posting about what they’re thankful for. This draws from the tradition where families used to write down what they were thankful for and then read them out during the meal.
Because it’s a time that generally brings your extended family together, Thanksgiving is often seen as a potential emotional minefield. For LGBTQ people, it might be a time when you need to navigate personal questions from distant relatives, or you might just need to bite the bullet and come out.
This year, you might want to make a family rule not to talk about politics. Focus on things that will bring you closer together with your family and friends, it’s a time of year when it’s best to avoid difficult or controversial subjects that might push you apart.