Two hundred and sixty-nine

American Thanksgiving

"The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" by Jennie A. Brownscombe (1914)

Turkey, gravy, stuffing, mashed potatoes. Leftovers.  Gourds and fall leaves to decorate.  Family get-togethers.  Shopping (ok, not until the day after – or as some stores are doing this year, the night of).  These are the things that come to mind when I think of American Thanksgiving.  And if I know my American side of the family well, they will have an amazing spread of food and drinks to do it up right.

Thanksgiving in the United States is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, regardless of the date.  It became an annual tradition in 1863, during the Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of thanksgiving, although there had been irregular Thanksgiving celebrations before that.  It was set as a federal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November by law in 1941.

“The First Thanksgiving” is often mentioned during this time.  In the early 1620s, thanksgiving ceremonies were held by the Pilgrims at Plymouth after successful harvests or the end of a drought.  “The First Thanksgiving” thanked God for a successful voyage to the New World and lasted for three days, feeding 13 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans.  “The feast consisted of fish (cod, eels, and bass) and shellfish (clams, lobster, and mussels), wild fowl (ducks, geese, swans, and turkey), venison,berries and fruit, vegetables (peas, pumpkin, beetroot and possibly, wild or cultivated onion), harvest grains (barley and wheat), and theThree Sisters: beans, dried Indian maize or corn, and squash.” (Wikipedia)

Modern traditions include: family time; big turkey dinners; often saying grace and thanking God (or whichever religion you believe) for the food on the table and the family companions; large parades; watching football (Thanksgiving Classic) or playing with family and friends in the yard (“Turkey Bowl”).  Government offices and the New York Stock Exchange are closed, as well as many other companies.

So Happy Turkey Day to my amazing family in the States!  I wish I could be there to celebrate with you.  I’m coming to visit next week, though, but I think that might be a little long to save the leftovers for…

Lindsay doing some hosting/modeling

A hint at what holiday I’ll be talking about tomorrow, check out my video on the Toronto Star website here.  If you happen to have a hard copy of the Toronto Star today, does the person on the front page of the “Canada’s Black Friday” section look familiar?