Thanksgiving in 2022: the history and traditions of the holiday
Many Thanksgiving traditions are known to almost everyone: probably, many have heard of eating a roast turkey and “pardoning” one such bird. Komsomolskaya Pravda decided to tell more about the holiday and tell when it will be celebrated in 2022
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated only in two countries – the USA and Canada, but the celebration is known all over the world. Moreover, the Americans have a special attitude towards it: they love this holiday so much that the actions of many films and TV shows shot in Hollywood at least partially take place on a day when it is customary to thank God and loved ones for all the good things.
By the way, Americans and Canadians celebrate this celebration at different times. So, it is customary for US citizens to say “thank you” in November, namely on the fourth Thursday of the last autumn month, and for Canadians – on the second Monday of October.
Thus, in 2022, the long-awaited holiday will be celebrated in the United States on November 24, and in neighboring Canada on October 10.
Thanksgiving is especially loved by Americans, as it is associated with very important historical events for their country. So, this holiday appeared thanks to the first English settlers, who moored on November 21, 1620 on the Mayflower ship to the shores of a new and unexplored continent for Europeans. The fate of these people was unenviable. So, more than half of them (and in total there were just over 100 people) could not survive the winter that came soon after their arrival: they were not ready for such cold weather, in addition, they had practically nothing to eat.
Meanwhile, when spring came, those who managed to survive founded the Plymouth Colony, which, as you know, gave rise to the settlement of North America. However, the remaining settlers would hardly have lasted long if it were not for the locals: it was the Indians who taught the Europeans to cultivate American land and told them what could be grown in those parts. As a result, the next autumn, the Pilgrim Fathers gathered a bountiful harvest.
In this regard, the then (and first) governor of the colonists, William Bradford, had the idea to give praise to God for a miraculous salvation: for this, in November 1621, the newly minted Americans held a feast, to which they invited, including about 100 Indians of the tribe that saved them. This was the first Thanksgiving in history.
However, for the next 150+ years, the holiday was unofficial: it was celebrated from time to time. It became national in 1789. The fact is that it was in the 18th century that such a state as the United States appeared, and, as you know, any young state needs its own customs and traditions. Therefore, it was decided to make Thanksgiving Day the first national holiday and celebrate it annually on November 26: the corresponding decree was signed by the first American leader, George Washington.
And in 1864, Abraham Lincoln decided to change the date of the celebration and decided to celebrate the celebration on the last Thursday of the last autumn month.
And everything was fine, until in 1939 the next American President Franklin Roosevelt moved such an important holiday for the country to the penultimate Thursday of November. He did this to extend the Christmas shopping season. However, his directive was not binding, which caused confusion and a real split in the country: 23 states began to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the penultimate Thursday in November, another 22 on the last, and the rest on both the penultimate and the last.
Only in 1941, this issue was clarified: it was then that the US Congress adopted a document that fixed the fourth November Thursday for the celebration.
It is customary for US citizens to spend a holiday in the circle of relatives and closest friends. On this day, Americans usually gather for a family holiday dinner, which is held in the home of the oldest members of the family.
At the same time, dishes such as baked turkey in cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie are mandatory on the table, and Thanksgiving is not complete without sweet potatoes. According to historians, the first settlers ate the same at a feast with the Indians. The celebration also has its own traditional drink – apple cider.
By the way, before starting a meal, all family members, as a rule, thank God and each other for all the good things that have happened to them over the past year.
Another Thanksgiving tradition is to pardon the turkey. This ceremony is usually held on the lawn of the White House on the eve of the celebration. As usual, in addition to the President of the United States, there are two more turkeys on it: the main hero of the occasion is the “national turkey” and its understudy is the “vice turkey” (in case something happens to the first bird). During the ceremony, the American leader traditionally reads a decree pardoning the country’s main turkey (her deputy, as a rule, is also left alive), and then the lucky woman is sent to the zoo, where she lives until she dies a natural death.