For Thanksgiving Day

I’ve taken to marking Thanksgiving Day each year, and even though some of you may recall previous posts I thought it worth doing so again.

“The First Thanksgiving” (1915), by Jean Louis Gerome Ferris (American painter, 1863-1930).

Even from 3,000 miles away it hasn’t escaped our notice that today is Thanksgiving Day. I watch a lot of American TV shows, many of which – like NCIS – have Thanksgiving specials, and until the past few years I’d always thought of Thanksgiving Day as being something celebrated only in the USA. I was a little surprised, therefore, to find both that is celebrated in several countries and that its roots actually go back to post-Reformation England, no doubt prompted by the Pilgrim Fathers’ journey across the pond on the Mayflower. This is in no way to deny the day its American roots, though – it seems that celebrations have taken place in some places there since the late 16th century. I’ll admit to having to consult Google and Wikipedia for that!

Basically, the day is to give thanks for a good harvest, before the onset of winter. In the UK this is very much a church thing, with Harvest Festival services in late September, but these have not developed into a fully blown day of celebration – we in the UK are really deprived when it comes to public holidays! It was first set in statute in the USA by Abraham Lincoln in 1863, and has been celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November since President Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress to that effect, in 1941. It is a major holiday in the US, not just the commercial aspects but as a day of family celebration.

Turkey is the traditional meal for Thanksgiving Day, as you can see from the table set here. There are parades, NFL games and a host of other celebrations too, and the day marks the start of a long weekend break, as well as being the unofficial start of the Christmas season. A couple of days ago there was the weird (to non-Americans) spectacle of the Presidential pardon for turkeys. I’ve never understood what turkeys can have done that would be so bad as to require that level of pardon, so maybe an American reader can enlighten me please? I just hope that this year’s recipients of the pardon don’t subsequently turn out to have links to Russia, or to have been making phone calls to the Ukraine.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

I read in the paper the other day that one of those surveys we often hear about had concluded that one in six would be celebrating the day here in the UK. Does that mean there are 10m Americans living here or are we Brits succumbing to yet another US import? Sorry, guys, I’m afraid it isn’t a tradition that I’ll be adopting, but I hope you all enjoy your big day. Here’s a beautiful, special something from me, for you, as you celebrate:

 

7 thoughts on “For Thanksgiving Day

  1. Janet Givens November 28, 2019 / 11:57 am

    Quite fun to read the parts of our Thanksgiving holiday that stand out to you Brits. It’s such a positive holiday, I’m glad to hear it’s a growing export of ours. And just think: no tariffs to impose on it. There’s also the huge Macy’s Day parade (best watched on TV) in the morning in which Santa officially arrives in town, and foitball games in the afternoon. Enjoy the day. I’m happy to share it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive November 28, 2019 / 12:05 pm

      I was surprised that so many celebrate it here, if I’m honest. We don’t have any tradition of it, so I guess that is all part of the Americanisation of our culture. I’m glad you have your special day to enjoy, but I don’t think the Macy’s parade is shown on tv here – yet! We get the NFL, though. Have a lovely day 😊

      Like

  2. Annika Perry November 28, 2019 / 11:01 am

    Great post, Clive and perfect time to feature again. It is strange how we are slowly being pulled into Thanksgiving and with so many friends celebrating today I feel like an honoury member!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Clive November 28, 2019 / 12:01 pm

      Thanks, Annika. I think our whole culture is becoming under the thrall of the US, as we get so much of theirs thrust upon us! But as long as Thanksgiving doesn’t become a bank holiday here there will still be a majority who don’t celebrate it, I believe.

      Liked by 1 person

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