Q:

How do people celebrate Thanksgiving?

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Quick Answer

In the United States, people celebrate Thanksgiving with food, family, helping others and engaging in live or televised entertainment. Thanksgiving in the U.S. falls on the fourth Thursday in November, and recurs annually. Generally, people view Thanksgiving as a family-oriented event and begin holiday celebrations on Thanksgiving Thursday, although some families extend the celebration for longer.

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How do people celebrate Thanksgiving?
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Full Answer

Thanksgiving is historically the busiest travel holiday of the year. Each year, Americans travel to visit family members in cars, trains and by plane. Thanksgiving does not center around religious traditions, and instead emphasizes family and harvests. The Thanksgiving holiday revolves around food, which often includes a variety of traditional items. Dinner typically includes a turkey, along with mashed potatoes, stuffing and gravy. This meal concludes with the breaking of a wishbone and making a wish. Sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce and cornbread often accompany the meal. Desserts, primarily apple, pumpkin, pecan and sweet potato pies, follow decadent dinners. Families abstaining from meat and vegetarians substitute traditional meats with items, such as tofu, salads and other fruits and vegetables. While families dine privately, Thanksgiving contains public ceremonies and traditions, too. The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, for instance, takes place in New York City every year. Additionally, the U.S. President participates in a turkey pardon, which involves receiving a live turkey and allowing it to go free.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    When did Thanksgiving start?

    A:

    Most Americans acknowledge the first Thanksgiving as a meal shared by Pilgrims and Native Americans in 1621. However, the holiday was not official until declared so by Abraham Lincoln in 1863.

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  • Q:

    Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?

    A:

    Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States as a national holiday dedicated to being with family and friends to give thanks for all of the blessings received throughout the previous year. The holiday is believed to have been celebrated first in 1621 when the Plymouth settlers enjoyed a fall feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest with the local Wampanoag Indians.

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  • Q:

    How long did the first Thanksgiving last?

    A:

    The first Thanksgiving, a feast held in November 1621 to celebrate the Pilgrims' first corn harvest, lasted for three days. The amount of time the celebration took to prepare is not known, but before the feast Governor William Bradford sent four settlers to hunt fowl, and Massasoit, a leader of the Native Americans who were invited to the feast, sent some of his men to hunt deer.

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  • Q:

    Why is turkey served for Thanksgiving?

    A:

    There isn't a clear record explaining exactly why turkey is the traditional centerpiece of the contemporary Thanksgiving dinner. The most logical explanation is that wild turkeys are abundant along the eastern seaboard of the United States, making it a widely available food that could be portioned out to serve large quantities of people.

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