The origin of Thanksgiving Day traces back to the year 1621, when the first feast was organized between the English settlers and Native Americans. It was the first time when food was exchanged between the Native Americans and the settlers and thus started the tradition of Thanksgiving. In the beginning, Thanksgiving traditions were different and were associated with harvest traditions but with passage of time, new customs and traditions came to be associated with the festival. Thanksgiving is an official holiday in America and is celebrated with great excitement in the month of November. Keeping apart some basic customs, Thanksgiving traditions vary from family to family. While some cook up a big goose, others roast a turkey or can have a stuffed vegetarian Thanksgiving squash. The traditional dinner menu is also varied and includes winter squash, yams, mashed potatoes, dumplings, corn on the cob or hominy, deviled eggs, green beans and desserts like apple pie, mincemeat pie, sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, chocolate cream pie and pecan pie. The cultural background of the family plays an important role in the Thanksgiving customs and celebrations of the family. Read further to know some common Thanksgiving customs.
Custom of Praying
The very basis of Thanksgiving is to express gratitude to the Lord for providing meal. In this day, communal prayers are organized in churches and in homes. Family members and friends gather around dinner table and offer prayers to God. Thanksgiving customs also include showing gratitude to friends and relatives.
Custom of Family Dinner
The custom of family dinner is a very integral part of Thanksgiving and provides a great opportunity for the family members and relatives to get together. Distant relatives and family members fly back to their families for this occasion. The whole family sits together around the dinner table and enjoys the traditional family dinner.
Custom of Turkey
These days turkey has become a symbol of Thanksgiving. Turkey is a popular American dish and forms an important part of Thanksgiving dinner. People pay special attention in preparing roasted turkey for this occasion. Side dishes may vary from family to family.
Custom of Decoration
Decoration is an important aspect for any festival and adds charm to the festivities and celebration. Like other festivals, Thanksgiving is also a time of decorating homes with wreaths and fresh flowers. People not only decorate the exterior of their houses, but also put much emphasis on the interiors where the main celebrations take place. Lamps are lit to brighten the rooms. People place the best chinaware and silver cutlery on the tables for this occasion.
Custom of Sending Messages
Unlike other festival, Thanksgiving does not include the custom of giving gifts traditionally. But people can use this day to send love messages and hearty wishes to their friends and relatives. It is a day of conveying gratitude towards others for their good deeds.