Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a traditional North American holiday to give thanks for the things that one has at the conclusion of the harvest season. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

First Thanksgiving

The earliest Thanksgiving events were held in the British Colonies, at present day Berkeley Plantation in Virginia in 1619 and at Plymouth in present day Massachusetts in 1621.

A long weekend

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day, always a Thursday, is part of four- or five-day long weekend which usually marks a pause in school and college calendars. Many workers (78% in 2007) are given both Thanksgiving and the day after as paid holidays, and others with leave benefits are allowed to take a vacation day.[1] The day after Thanksgiving is known as the unofficial holiday of Black Friday: the beginning of the traditional Christmas shopping season. Many retailers open very early (typically 5 A.M.) and offer "doorbuster" deals and loss leaders to draw people to their stores.

Travel

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day, and the following Sunday, last day of the long weekend, are typically two of the heaviest annual travel days for passengers airlines, intercity rail and bus services, and highway travel.

Traditional celebration

Thanksgiving meals are traditionally family events where certain kinds of food are served. As is evidenced by the tremendous level of travel, significant effort is made by family members to gather for the Thanksgiving celebration. Family participation is notably inclusive ranging from the very youngest to the most senior. First and foremost, turkey is the featured item in most Thanksgiving feasts (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes facetiously referred to as "Turkey Day"). Stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, corn, turnips, rolls, pecan pie, and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner, although it was quite probable that many of these culinary items did not feature in the first Thanksgiving in 1621.[2]. Often guests bring food items or help with cooking in the kitchen as part of a communal meal.

source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving