When is Thanksgiving? History, meaning, turkey – all information about the holiday

Americans celebrate Thanksgiving about a month before Christmas. Turkey Day is considered one of the most important family celebrations and, along with Halloween, is one of the country’s most unique holidays. We take a look at the origins and quirks of Thanksgiving.

When is Thanksgiving 2022?

In the US, Thanksgiving always falls on the fourth Thursday in November; this year the holiday falls on November 24th. Thanksgiving is also a holiday in many places in Canada, but there it takes place on the second Monday in October.

Are Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving the same?

Literally translated, “thanksgiving” means thanksgiving. It is therefore reasonable to assume that Thanksgiving is the North American variant of the one commonly used in Europe Thanksgiving acts – wrong. Because while Thanksgiving is a religious holiday, Thanksgiving is an explicitly secular, i.e. secular holiday that refers to a joint festival between the first settlers (pilgrim fathersGerman: Pilgrim Fathers) and the natives.

Although the Pilgrim Fathers were anything but irreligious, and Thanksgiving traditions of the European harvest festival have certainly been absorbed, the two holidays differ enormously in their present-day form.

Thanksgiving Story

While the first Thanksgiving in the fall of 1621 can still be understood as an act of rapprochement and thanksgiving between European settlers and Native Americans, the holiday in its modern form bears little resemblance to the original festival.

As is well known, the desired harmony between the Pilgrim Fathers and the indigenous people was short-lived. And although for Native people the colonization of the Americas is a tale of expulsion and extermination, Thanksgiving has retained the essence of a peaceful family celebration.

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We owe this circumstance above all to Abraham Lincoln: In order to unite the enemy country, the US President declared Thanksgiving to be an annually recurring national holiday in 1863, in the middle of the American Civil War. Finally, in 1941, the American Congress set Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November.

What customs do you associate with Thanksgiving?

Many traditions have formed around Thanksgiving over time. Some of the most famous include: the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York City, the Turkey Day football game, which is canceled this year due to the corona virus, and of course the big family dinner, where a roast turkey gets special attention.

Turkey Day: What’s the deal with turkeys on Thanksgiving?

There’s no question – Thanksgiving without turkey is like Halloween without a pumpkin. But where does the custom of eating turkey actually come from, and what does the US President have to do with it?

Thanksgiving Day is traditionally used by families in the United States to take a moment to say thank you for the good things in life. And as is usual with large family celebrations, food plays an important role. In North America’s early days, turkey was a food source that helped get through the harsh winter months. A roast turkey with sweet potatoes, pumpkin and other typical vegetables is said to have been served on the first Thanksgiving.

This custom has continued. Today, Americans eat around 40 million turkeysusually in the form of a roast, alone on Thanksgiving, like “CNBCreported.

Turkey pardon at the White House

So much importance is attached to turkey that it has become a presidential affair: every year, the sitting US President officially declares the holiday a few days before Thanksgiving. He will be presented with a live turkey in front of the White House as part of the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. Traditionally, the animal was then prepared for the formal presidential dinner.

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Thanks to George Bush Sr., however, the bird has been officially “pardoned” since the 1990s and thus escaped the roaster. Even President Kennedy was moved by the sad fate of the Thanksgiving turkey to the words: “Let’s keep him going”. It is not known whether he did without the roast at the later dinner.

Useless turkey knowledge around Thanksgiving:

  • 88 percent of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving.
  • The largest gathering of people dressed up as turkeys took place on November 24, 2011 in Dallas. 661 people donned turkey costumes to set the record.
  • The typical rumbling of the turkey is reserved for the male conspecifics; female turkeys make clicking noises.
  • Turkeys in the wild can fly. The birds fattened for Thanksgiving are so heavy they’ve lost the ability.
  • While turkey is eaten on Thanksgiving in the US, the British eat their “turkey roast” more at Christmas.
  • Turkey feathers were used by Native Americans to steady arrows and adorn ceremonial clothing. Cowboys used turkey skin for boots and belts.
  • There are numerous places in the United States named after the main dish on Thanksgiving Day: Turkey, Texas was home to 421 people at the last census in 2010. The most famous resident is the American country musician Bob Wills.
  • The turkeys selected for the Presidential Ceremony will reside at the Willard InterContinental Hotel in Washington, DC, pending their presentation to the US President


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