What is Thanksgiving?

Have you ever wondered what happens on Thanksgiving Day?

Read the following questions and answers to find out.

Thanksgiving Turkey

1. What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in the United States to recognize and give thanks for the good things people have in their lives. Americans recognize and give thanks for their families and friends, for homes, for food and good health, and for anything in their lives that they feel fortunate to have. It is a time for families to be together and to enjoy a good meal.

2. When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is the fourth Thursday of November every year. This means the date changes each year.

3. Is Thanksgiving a federal holiday?

Yes, Thanksgiving is a federal holiday. Banks, government offices, schools, and most businesses are closed. Schools and some businesses remain closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving as well.

Happy Family

4. How do people celebrate?

Most people celebrate by gathering with friends and family and having a big meal together in one family member’s home. Other people choose to avoid the work of preparing a large meal and eat with their families in restaurants. Still others take advantage of an extra day or two off work and go on vacation. Many people watch football games or parades on television or attend these events in person.

5. What else happens on Thanksgiving Day?

On Thanksgiving Day many large cities around the country have Thanksgiving Day parades with floats, marching bands, celebrities, and Santa Claus. In addition, some professional football teams play games on this day. Many people attend the parades and football games in person and many others watch them on television. Football is extremely important in some families, and these families may even schedule their holiday meal around their favorite football game.

6. What happens near Thanksgiving Day?

On the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving large stores generally open very early and many offer small gifts or special sales to entice buyers. In fact, Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season and the days following Thanksgiving are considered prime shopping days. Most stores have sales on their merchandise and many offer very attractive bargains to shoppers who don’t mind shopping at 4:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m., and 6:00 a.m. Although it can be a great time to find a bargain, the stores are usually very crowded. If you don’t like fighting the crowds in the malls, you can consider waiting for another weekend before Christmas when there are usually similar sales.

Pumpkin Pie

7. What typical foods are eaten on Thanksgiving?

Typical Thanksgiving foods are turkey, dressing or stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, rolls and butter, and pumpkin pie with whipped cream. In addition to these traditional foods, some cooks create new dishes every year and many serve regional favorites depending on where they live.

8. How do people prepare their turkeys?

Most people roast their turkey in the oven for several hours at a low temperature. In recent years, however, more people have chosen to deep-fry their turkeys. Before cooking their turkey, many people stuff the turkey with a bread mixture they call either dressing or stuffing. There are many variations of dressing and stuffing.

9. What do people do with the leftovers?

Yum, leftovers. Leftovers are an important part of Thanksgiving. Because the meal is so large and the turkey itself is usually large, there is usually a lot of food left over. Cooks can become very creative with the leftovers and make everything from soup to sandwiches to salads to pies to casseroles and everything in between.

10. What do people do with the wishbone?

In some families after cooking and carving the turkey, the cook removes the wishbone and then dries it on the windowsill. The next day or several days later, after the wishbone has dried, two family members will each hold one end of the wishbone, make a wish, and then pull until the bone cracks. The person who gets the longer piece of bone will have his or her wish come true.


11. What are Thanksgiving symbols?

Some Thanksgiving symbols are turkeys, fall-harvested fruits and vegetables, food, cornucopias, and pilgrims.

12. Do people give gifts for Thanksgiving?

No, people do not give gifts for Thanksgiving.


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