What is the first thing you think about when you think of Thanksgiving? Like most of us it is turkey, football, and pumpkin pie – maybe not necessarily in that order.
Well, going back a few centuries, specifically 1620, a ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England with 102 passengers on board. Some of these passengers were seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith while others were lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. As you can imagine with a small ship, this was not a very comfortable crossing of the Atlantic. The voyage lasted 66 days and after landing at Cape Cod, they crossed Massachusetts Bay where they began establishing a village at Plymouth.
It was in 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians shared a feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations. It took place at Plymouth which is present-day Massachusetts. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Today, much of the celebration centers around cooking and the meal shared with friends and family. Even though Turkey may not have been part of the inaugural feast back in 1621, it is now enjoyed by nearly 90% of Americans on Thanksgiving. In the mid-20th century, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds and sending them to a farm for retirement. Many U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.
A great way to kick off the holiday season is with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. This famous parade is a beloved tradition of many New Yorkers. Macy’s has been presenting this parade in New York City since 1924. It draws between 2-3 million spectators each year as it travels along the 2.5-mile route. This procession features a dazzling dose of marching bands, performers, and the elaborate giant balloon floats. Generations have enjoyed this parade as it concludes with the appearance of Santa! If you are lucky enough to go to the parade this year, make sure to snap some photos and take some videos. You can upload the photos and videos onto a Penless Postcard and send them to friends and family who could not be there. It is always fun to receive a Penless Postcard!
Vegetables are a must on a diet. I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread and pumpkin pie. – Jim Davis.