Thanksgiving is one of America’s most treasured holidays but not everyone knows why we celebrate Thanksgiving and where some of the popular dishes came from. American Thanksgiving dinners are full of the most scrumptious foods you crave all year. This holiday is filled with family traditions, but where did these traditions come from? Most first graders can tell you that Thanksgiving started with the pilgrims coming together for a meal of peace with the Indians in 1621. Even though this was a big step in history, it actually took 200 years for this history making dinner to become a celebrated holiday. Here are a few more questions you might have wondered about on this holiday.
Why do people eat turkey on Thanksgiving?
It is speculated that the pilgrims and Indians ate turkey or some other wild fowl, because that was what was available. Turkey was a familiar bird to the colonists so it has become the traditional meat for this special dinner.
Why do Americans celebrate thanks on this day?
The pilgrims and Indians gathered together for this meal after a very successful harvest season and in those days, this was a great thing to celebrate. These people were happy and thankful to have such an abundance of food, thus the reason gratitude is such a prevalent theme on this day.
What are the most popular side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner?
Ranker ran a poll asking America what their favorite side dishes were and here are the top 15 people voted in:
- Mashed potatoes
- Macaroni and cheese
- Green bean casserole
- Corn on the cob
- Baked sweet potatoes
- Crescent rolls
- Sweet potato pie
- Green beans
- Cranberry jelly
- Garlic bread
- Whipped sweet potatoes
- Cranberry sauce
Other symbolization comes into the meal such as pumpkin pie, symbolizing the squash and pumpkins the early colonists frequently farmed. While sugar was scarce or unheard of, these people did their best to sweeten dishes naturally with sweet fruits and vegetables.
What are some Thanksgiving traditional family activities?
This holiday is not just about the Thanksgiving turkey, it’s about spending time with loved ones. Some of the best traditions involve the activities done together after dinner. Here are few fun Thanksgiving activities you can incorporate:
- Put together a 2,000 piece puzzle while you eat Thanksgiving pie
- Gather the family for a rousing game of flag football, perfect for all ages
- Watch old home videos of years gone by
- Walk off that Thanksgiving dinner together with a nature hike if the weather is nice
- Play games together like Thanksgiving pictionary or bingo.
- Create a scavenger hunt with fun prizes at the end
- Put together a craft for the kids like finger painted turkeys or make pilgrim hats
- Have a talent show
How do Americans set up the Thanksgiving dinner table?
Presentation on the table sets the tone and ambiance as you are gathered around the Thanksgiving turkey. Fall leaves, pumpkins and candles are nice pieces you can add to the center of the table. Bring out the special china for this meal or if you’d like to make things easier, you can purchase special, fall themed paper products. Adding names to place settings around the table as well as setting each place with pretty napkins brings it all together.
What ways can you show thanks around the Thanksgiving dinner table?
You can keep it simple and have everyone go in a circle and say what they are thankful for. Another creative way is to cover the table in butcher paper and crayons before you set it so during dinner, everyone can write the things they’re thankful for on the table covering. Or, maybe toasting is your thing. Set aside champagne or sparkling cider and take time for toasts to things you are thankful for.
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