The United States On Thursday Is Celebrating Thanksgiving Day,
Faizan Hashmi 11 months ago Thu 22nd November 2018 | 12:17 PM
The United States on Thursday is celebrating Thanksgiving Day, one of the most popular national holidays, which is celebrated on every fourth Thursday of November.
MOSCOW (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 22nd November, 2018) The United States on Thursday is celebrating Thanksgiving Day, one of the most popular national holidays, which is celebrated on every fourth Thursday of November.
The idea of celebrating the end of the harvest dates back to antiquity. In North America, this holiday transformed into a thanksgiving prayer for a rich harvest, accompanied by a large feast. According to some assessments, the first thanksgiving service of European colonists took place in Jamestown in 1607 as well as in the then colony of Maine.
However, in most cases, the history of the holiday is associated with the settlers who came to North America from England at the end of 1620. In the fall of 1621, the governor of Plymouth Colony, William Bradford, invited the Native Americans living in the neighborhood to celebrate a three-day holiday with the settlers in honor of the first harvest after a hungry winter, which the colonists survived mostly thanks to the help of the natives.
This was the first Thanksgiving, but the colonists did not call it so and did not plan on making it a tradition. There was no holiday the following year. It was held again only in 1623 to mark the end of the drought that threatened the harvest.
The holiday was unofficial for a long time. European settlers held celebrations for the fall harvest at the local level � each state determined its own date for the celebration.
In 1789, the first president of the United States, George Washington, declared Thursday, November 26, a day of public thanksgiving and prayer. However, in subsequent years, Thanksgiving Day continued to be held irregularly. It only became a national holiday in 1863, during the American Civil War, when President Abraham Lincoln announced that, from now on, the last Thursday of November would be celebrated as Thanksgiving Day. Yet, already in 1865, the holiday was celebrated on the first Thursday in November because of a ruling by US President Andrew Johnson. In 1869, President Ulysses S. Grant chose the third Thursday for Thanksgiving Day. In the following years, Thanksgiving Day was celebrated on the last Thursday of November.
Between 1939 and 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt issued a proclamation moving the holiday to the third Thursday of November to expand the Christmas shopping season. State became divided following the proclamation� � 32 states issued similar proclamations and 16 continued to celebrate the holiday the old way.
After two years of confusion and complaints, Roosevelt signed a law establishing Thanksgiving Day as the fourth Thursday of November.
Over the years, the holiday has developed a number of traditions that US citizens carefully honor.
Another tradition is the turkey pardon ceremony, which is held at the White House on the eve of the holiday. In accordance with this tradition, at least one turkey should be spared from ending up on the dinner table.
The tradition of honoring the Thanksgiving turkey started in 1947 when the National Turkey Federation for the first time presented the bird to President Harry Truman. However, it was only in 1963 when President John Kennedy left the gifted bird alive.
Turkeys for the pardoning ceremony are supplied by the National Turkey Federation. A few months before Thanksgiving, 30 birds are selected and then put to the vote on the White House website. These turkeys are specially prepared for an honorary mission, they are hand-fed and are taught not to be afraid of strangers. On the eve of Thanksgiving, the two most worthy members of the turkey family � the "national turkey" and its deputy, the "vice turkey" � are put before the president. The first one is solemnly pardoned, while the second is chosen for the White House's Thanksgiving dinner.
The vice turkey's duty is also to replace the first bird in case of illness or death. During the pardoning ceremony, the president reads a decree and gently pets the bird. Later, the turkey is sent to the zoo.
Another popular feature of the holiday is costume parades. The first such parade was held in 1924 in Detroit. The most famous parade is held annually in New York. It is organized by Macy's, the largest chain of department stores in the country. The main attractions of the parade are giant inflatable balloons � popular characters from cartoons, television and pop culture � that are carried from Central Park to the department store, located between 7th Avenue and Broadway. The parade has been broadcast live on television since 1952.
After Thanksgiving, all stores in the country begin their Christmas sales. Since the 1960s, the day right after Thanksgiving has been known as "Black Friday" and features the best sales of the holiday season, making it the busiest shopping day of the year.