In the USA, Thanksgiving is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in November. For Americans, this is one of the most important holidays of the year, when the whole family and relatives try to get together for a festive dinner. Although this holiday is unpopular in Europe, it plays a huge role in US culture for centuries. What are the main dishes besides the turkey? And why it is so important to the Americans?
What Do Americans Celebrate on Thanksgiving Day?
Thanksgiving is a celebration traditionally dedicated to the end of the harvest. Now, during this celebration, Americans gather at a common table and eat big dinner with the main dish of turkey. In the past, the purpose of this day was to thank God for the harvest, family, and home, as a result, the day got the title of Thanksgiving. Now the religious meaning of this day has faded a bit and instead there is a tradition of remembering loved ones and thanking them for being together. But religious American families still traditionally pray together before dinner. Thanksgiving is now celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. This is the beginning of the so-called holiday season that lasts until the New Year.
Many companies are closed on Thursdays and Fridays, so the Americans could return home for a longer weekend and have time to visit their families. The Friday that comes after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday and marks the beginning of Christmas sales. While Europeans often think that U.S. Thanksgiving is just one of many celebrations, actually, it has the same importance as Christmas to Americans. In fact, even more people celebrate Thanksgiving in the U.S. than do Christmas. This is because Thanksgiving is a secular holiday, and the US state is officially separated it from religion.
The Most Common Dishes
The usual Thanksgiving dish is roasted turkey. It is believed that it was the turkey that became the symbol of Thanksgiving, as it is large enough to feed the whole family, but at the same time, the loss of one turkey to the farm did not cost a lot. For example, cows were more expensive for pilgrims in the past, and beef for sale did not yet existed, with the advent of Thanksgiving. Pilgrims also did not want to cut hens unnecessarily as they laid eggs that could become a permanent source of food. Pork was eaten by pilgrims quite often, so it was not suitable for special occasions. Like turkey, venison was considered an exclusive dish, but deer could not become a traditional Thanksgiving dish either, as this would mean that the family would have been left without dinner if the hunt failed.
Instead of a turkey, some families enjoy ham, roast duck, or goose now. However, the turkey remains the most popular choice. The turkey stuffing is usually made from the chopped celery, carrots, onions, and sage. Sometimes nuts, sliced pork or sausages, raisins or apples also become a filling. As a garnish, the most common choice is mashed potatoes. Americans also prepare sweets for the Thanksgiving dinner, and the most popular ones are apple or pumpkin cake.