Discovering: The American Thanksgiving

The US is a multi-racial and multi-ethnic country where live in harmony German, African, Mexican, Irish, English, American, Italian, Polish, French, Spanish, Scottish, native American, Puerto Rican, Norwegian, Dutch, Swedish, Chinese, Asian-Indian, Scotch-Irish, Russian, West Indian and Filipino people. Amongst the 331 million people living in the United States of America, many are celebrating Thanksgiving today as they do every year on the fourth Thursday of November.

How do most people celebrate Thanksgiving in the USA? On Thanksgiving Day, it is traditional for Americans to share a family meal, attend a church thanksgiving service, watch special sporting events such as an American football match, break the wishbone for good luck, giving back, helping others and attend a local Thanksgiving Day parade or watch one on television.

Parades have become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States.The longest American Thanksgiving Parade is also the longest in the world and the most watched by Americans, we are speaking about the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. It’s an annual event held in New York and it’s presented by the US-based department store chain Macy’s. The three-hour parade is filled with giant character balloons, floats, clowns, dancers, musical bands, performance groups, a host of musical stars, and the brilliant Santa Claus.

Traditionally Thanksgiving celebrates the giving of thanks for the fall harvest and other blessings of the year gone by. Thanksgiving is a celebration of the close family and friends in our lives and the fall harvest. At its heart, the holiday holds a deep sense of gratitude. It is as it sounds, a day to “give thanks.” It’s called American Thanksgiving or the US Thanksgiving to distinguish it from the Canadian holiday.


Historians think that the American tradition of Thanksgiving dates back a long time ago to 1621 when the Pilgrims gave thanks for their first bountiful harvest in Plymouth Rock. “The First Thanksgiving” was celebrated for three days, it included 50 Pilgrims, 90 Wampanoag Native American people and the settlers festing with the natives on dried fruits, boiled pumpkin, turkey, venison and much more.

But Thanksgiving didn’t become a nationwide holiday until the 16th President of the United States: Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as the national day of Thanksgiving in 1863.

Today’s Meaning

The holiday originally had religious grounding in giving thanks to God. Today, it has religious meaning for some, and is entirely secular for others.

The US Thanksgiving is the holiday of peace, the connection with a new season, the beauty of seedtime and harvest. Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, giving thanks, to remind to be generous with others. All people around the world should celebrate Thanksgiving because it boosts our well-being and reflects an overall attitude of gratitude and enjoying what we have.

Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it has become all but synonymous with the holiday.

Cooking traditions

First of all, we would like to remember you that grocery stores are usually open for the first half of the day, so make sure you get to the store early to pick up all the ingredients you’ll need to start cooking.

Now the serious bit, the really serious bit: are you by yourself or with a nice group of friends or family? Either way, you will have a great time if… you follow traditional cooking methods. First: the unmissable turkey! We want it juicy, tender, moist, and seasoned to perfection. And it’s gotta be accompanied by your family favorite side dishes namely pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie, cheesecake, apple crisp or pumpkin bread. Delicious!

If you attend a Thanksgiving dinner, be a gracious guest and show up with something thoughtful or in the spirit of the season such as an appetizer, a bottle of red wine, champagne, cider, liquors, dessert, entertainment for the table, flowers, candles, chocolates, pumpkin chocolate crisp cookies,…

If the host doesn’t want you to bring anything, please don’t come empty-handed. Bringing a gift for the host is a simple, thoughtful and kind gesture.

What countries celebrate Thanksgiving?

-Canada’s version of Thanksgiving is very similar to American Thanksgiving.

-Grenada’s Thanksgiving is a public holiday to commemorate the anniversary of the 1983 Caribbean and American military intervention to rescue the country from a communist takeover and restore it.

-Caribbean Islands’ Thanksgiving is very similar to the US one.

-Germany, Austria and Switzerland: the celebration involves the celebration of the Autumn harvests.

-Leiden, The Netherlands. There is an annual Thanksgiving Celebration held at the Gothic church in Pieterskerk where one of the Pilgrim leaders, John Robinson, is buried.

-Japan’s Thanksgiving is called ‘Kinrō kansha no hi’ (勤労感謝の日).

-Liberia’s Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday of November and it’s celebrated in the same original American style but with an African touch.

The Ya-Hub team feels blessed for joining the Thanksgiving celebrations as we have a translation company conveniently located in Downtown Miami, Florida. From there, we say thanks to all the US businesses who trust us and choose us regularly to translate their corporate content into several world languages. God bless you all!

Enjoy Thanksgiving Day wherever you are, enjoy the company of others sharing a thanksgiving dinner, feel grateful for who you are and what you have achieved in 2022. Ding Dong, Merrily on High!