Giving Thanks and Gathering: A Guide to Thanksgiving Traditions in the United States

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Thanksgiving is a significant holiday in the United States, and people celebrate it in various ways. Traditionally, Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday in November. Here are some common activities and traditions associated with Thanksgiving in the U.S.:

  1. Feasting: The centrepiece of Thanksgiving is a large, festive meal. Roast turkey is the most iconic dish, often accompanied by stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and an array of side dishes and desserts.
  2. Family Gatherings: Thanksgiving is a time for families to come together. Many people travel long distances to be with their loved ones. It’s a day to reconnect and spend quality time with family and friends.
  3. Parades: Many cities host Thanksgiving Day parades, the most famous being the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. These parades feature giant balloons, floats, marching bands, and celebrity performances.
  4. Football: American football is a big part of Thanksgiving for many. The National Football League (NFL) hosts several games on Thanksgiving Day, and it’s a common tradition for families to watch them together.
  5. Volunteer Work: Some individuals and families use Thanksgiving as an opportunity to give back to their communities. Volunteering at local charities, food banks, or shelters is a way to help those in need during the holiday.
  6. Black Friday Shopping: In recent years, Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become a major shopping day, with retailers offering significant discounts and deals. Many people start their holiday shopping on this day.
  7. Thanksgiving Decorations: Houses are often decorated with autumn-themed decorations, including pumpkins, gourds, and cornucopias. Many also set a festive Thanksgiving table with themed tablecloths and centrepieces.
  8. Sharing Thanks: Part of the tradition involves going around the table and sharing what each person is thankful for. This practice emphasizes gratitude and reflection on the positive aspects of life.
  9. Native American Heritage: Some people use Thanksgiving as a time to acknowledge and learn about the history and culture of Native Americans. They may include dishes inspired by Indigenous cuisine in their feasts.
  10. Leftovers: After the main Thanksgiving meal, it’s common to have plenty of leftovers. Turkey sandwiches and creative dishes using the leftover food are enjoyed for several days afterward.

While these traditions are common, the way Thanksgiving is celebrated can vary from one family to another. It’s a time for personal and cultural traditions, gratitude, and the warmth of coming together with loved ones.

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the authorVinh Van Lam
Vinh Van Lam, co-founder of ArtSHINE, is a visionary art coach and entrepreneur with a passion for fostering creativity. With a diverse background in art and business, he brings a unique perspective to empower emerging artists, enabling them to thrive in the dynamic art industry through the innovative platform of ArtSHINE.

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