Everybody knows that there is a Black Friday sale on some Friday near Christmas. To be precise, it happens on the fourth Thursday of November and almost three weeks before Christmas. But no one in the name of faith came up with capitalist ideas embarking on hot sales all year round with low prices offered one day a year for the underprivileged. Where did this idea of organizing a crazy sale then come from? Who has fun watching people getting trampled over by everyone else looking for the first shot at the expensive products? Below are a few things that you might want to know about Thanksgiving.
9. Franklin Roosevelt tried to change the date
During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt tried to change the date of Thanksgiving by suggesting that the feast come one week earlier than usual. It was an attempt to boost retail sales, probably for Christmas, but people did not take it that easy. There were protests and people resorted to calling names. The mayor of Atlantic City wittingly declared two celebrations namely “Franksgiving” & “Thanksgiving”. The Americans squabbled and gobbled for two years before the decision was reversed by the Congress in 1941 and the 4th Thursday of November was declared as the national holiday.
8. What exactly is Thanksgiving?
It appears to be a precursor to Christmas but in reality Thanksgiving is basically a celebration to thank divinity for the harvest of previous season. It dates back to the 1600s (or so the Americans say) and might have religious roots too. There’s some confusion on when it first happened but most historians agree on 1621 when the Dutch settlers- the Pilgrims- celebrated harvest for the first time. That area was present Massachusetts. It spread through America gradually until President George Washington declared it a national holiday in 1789. Many Native Americans do not celebrate Thanksgiving and rightfully so. They consider it an insult to those whose land was plundered, possessions were looted when they received Syphilis as a homecoming present amongst many others.
7. What happens on Thanksgiving?
Besides people getting together from all over the country in order to eat and celebrate together, there are other things customary to Thanksgiving. The turkey is central to all dinners. The courses will revolve around this as the main course. The meat is stuffed and traditionally rounded off with pumpkin pie. Americans express craving for yams which actually means sweet potato. There are also Thanksgiving parades at many places. The Macy’s parade in New York being the most famous amongst these. It features helium balloons, costumes and floats lasting for up to three hours. Playing and watching American football is also a long standing tradition and it is almost always a game between NFL and college, ever since the game began.
6. Nursery Rhyme “Mary had a Little Lamb” is connected to Thanksgiving
It wasn’t written on Thanksgiving by Sarah Josepha Hale rather there is another quite interesting connection between the two. After producing the very popular nursery rhyme, Miss Hale wrote letters to the authorities for 17 years. The whole campaign demanded national recognition of Thanksgiving by the government and sought a national holiday to celebrate the occasion. It wasn’t until almost two decades later that Abraham Lincoln recognized Thanksgiving as a national holiday by issuing a decree in 1863. The holiday now gives people all over America four holidays by combining the weekend with Friday. Happy Vacationing!
5. The Turkey isn’t Turkey
Though there is layer upon layer of poultry in the Turkey, it is not the big bird only. There is a layer of Turkey stuffed with duck which in turn is stuffed with chicken. So it is basically Turduckens that we all enjoy on Thanksgiving. Interestingly, the original meal did not have Turkey as the main course. It was mostly fish, lobsters, eels and oyster though wild turkey did make it to the table sometimes. This later evolved into the dangerous high calorie tofu version involved deep frying “deep-fried Turkey”. That is the probably where the pioneer of KFC picked his idea from.
4. The tradition is not “original” rather “aboriginal”
Thanksgiving was meant to be a fast not a feast. The pilgrims that settled in Plymouth back then wanted to commemorate the day through prayers and fasting. This makes us believe that it might have religious roots as well. Why it didn’t turn out that way? The culture back then was in development phase and the Native Americans celebrated the three days with their traditional dancing, feasting and singing. Oh yeah the bonfires and the humming, the nighttime of stories and roasted marshmallows- all come from here. So when the Native American feasting combined with the Incoming American fasting, who won?! Tummies!
3. It was also celebrated in Britain
The Pilgrims that arrived in the U.S to celebrate Thanksgiving actually fled Great Britain because if the rigorous religious practices. Remember those were the times when the Church held great power. Yet in 1942, nearly 3,500 soldiers from America were invited to the Westminster Abbey in London where they filled the pews and chanted their America, the Beautiful and The Star-Spangled Banner. It was during the Second World War and the occasion was seen as ironic since it was the very church that the Pilgrims had initially fled from. Yet it had happened only once in 900 years of the church then and is remembered hitherto.
2. Thanksgiving has its history of evolution
President Thomas Jefferson called the idea of Thanksgiving Holiday as “ridiculous” and on the other hand Benjamin Franklin lobbied to make Turkey the national bird of the U.S. Why? We don’t know but we can only speculate that he craved and loved the taste. The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 but it was only a century and a half later that all thirteen colonies celebrated the day together. That was in 1777, October. George Washington marked the day as a national holiday in 1789. This makes us wonder what Abraham Lincoln did!? He “recognized” the historic tradition (did Washington mark a holiday without recognizing?!).
1. Black Friday is not a part of Thanksgiving
This point makes it to the top of our list for the right reasons. Black Friday is “the day after Thanksgiving” which actually marks that Christmas is just around the corner and all the department stores in the country supported it as that. This also led to a controversy in the 1930s because what stores and businessmen were doing was actually advertising for the Christmas shopping season but people linked it up with Thanksgiving Day (just like us!). This was what made President FDK try to change the date, but he was not successful. So for all the people who are scared of getting trampled by people in shopping stores- try shopping online with stores that offer the same kind of stuff as they do on the shelves.