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Your guide to an all-American Thanksgiving

By HannahMonday 23rd November 2015

The Thanksgiving Day meal is an important (and delicious!) part of the day – Image by Flickr user Satya Murthy The Thanksgiving Day meal is an important (and delicious!) part of the day – Image by Flickr user Satya Murthy

Americans are known for their impressive celebrations. From firework extravaganzas on the 4th of July, to the spooktacular events of October 31st, and Thanksgiving Day is no different. Every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, Americans all over the world hold amazing Thanksgiving Day celebrations, giving thanks for any number of things. This year, Thanksgiving falls on the 26th of November, so we’ve created a special guide to help you celebrate the all-American way.

Three NFL games are held on Thanksgiving Day – Image by Flickr user Mr. Usaji Three NFL games are held on Thanksgiving Day – Image by Flickr user Mr. Usaji

The Turkey

At the heart of every Thanksgiving is a turkey. Its significance can be traced back to the ‘The First Thanksgiving’ meal in 1621, between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people, which featured a turkey. In honour of this, before the day itself, the American President takes part in an unusual ceremony whereby one or two live turkeys are presented to be spared from the dinner table. Last year, Barack Obama pardoned two turkeys named Mac and Cheese! At the same time, families ready their turkey for the Thanksgiving Day meal, which is an integral part of any celebration. As well as the turkey, the Thanksgiving meal includes cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, squash, beans, corn bread and much more. For dessert, expect pies of all kinds – pumpkin, pecan, apple and chocolate cream. Giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters are part of the Macy’s Day Parade traditions – Image by Flickr user Anthony Quintano Giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters are part of the Macy’s Day Parade traditions – Image by Flickr user Anthony Quintano

American Football

Thanksgiving isn’t just a day to give thanks and eat turkey, oh no, it’s also a day to catch up on some American football. The game, which is similar to rugby, is a major sport in America and the rest of the world. The National Football League, or NFL as it’s also known, was formed in 1923 and consists of 32 teams that play a 17 week season, from Labor Day to the week after Christmas. Every Thanksgiving, three important games are held and for many families, watching them is an important part of their Thanksgiving Day celebrations. Those who are feeling a little more adventures can have a go themselves, and work off some of that Thanksgiving turkey with a friendly game in the back yard. If they can get off the couch, that is… Pecan pie is a popular Thanksgiving dessert – Image by Flickr user museinthecity Pecan pie is a popular Thanksgiving dessert – Image by Flickr user museinthecity

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving just wouldn’t be the same without Macy’s parade, which is broadcast live to over 50 million people every year. The parade began small, over 80 years ago, when Macy’s employees organised a small parade of floats outside the Herald Square, NYC, store. Since then, the parade has grown into one of the year’s most anticipated events, and people come out in their millions to watch this once-a-year spectacular. The parade travels 43 blocks, from 77th Street and Central Park West to Seventh Avenue, covering 2.5 miles in three hours. Made up of elaborate floats, giant helium balloons shaped like cartoon characters, marching bands, cheerleaders, clowns and other performers, the parade is unlike anything else. While many other cities hold their own parades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is by far the biggest and boldest. Marching bands and other performers are part of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Image by Flickr user S Pakhrin Marching bands and other performers are part of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade – Image by Flickr user S Pakhrin

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