There are many time honored Thanksgiving Day traditions we celebrate in the United States. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the annual feast take place on the last Thursday in November. Since then, the Thanksgiving feast has continued to evolve into the perfect time to slow down and reflect on all we have to be thankful for. Being grateful for all of our blessings and the good in our lives is wonderful all through the year but seems especially fitting in the autumn when we reflect back on a year ending and a new one beginning.
As I stare at the leaves that continue to fall off the trees, I can scarcely believe the Thanksgiving holiday is upon us. Wasn’t it just September last week? Nevertheless, we are already discussing the grocery list for our annual family Thanksgiving Day dinner. I’m not a whiz in the kitchen but my husband and I will be baking a turkey this week with the obligatory side dishes. Thinking of buying a turkey made me wonder how many American families indulge in turkey over Thanksgiving weekend. According to the U.S. Agriculture Department about 46 million turkeys will be eaten in some form during the upcoming holiday weekend!
That number seems almost absurd to me yet not surprising given that millions of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. Most of us were taught the story of the first Thanksgiving with the Plymouth Colony pilgrims and the native Indians. There were celebrations to be sure during the 1600’s celebrating and giving thanks — with no turkey but plenty of wild game like duck and seafood sides like lobster. However, I can’t say I would really want to give up my turkey and dressing for lobster stew on Thanksgiving.
Talking about dressing, or, is that stuffing? There always seems to be somewhat of a debate on which is the correct term for that spice and bread mixture on our plates. This depends if you grew up in the Northern part of the U.S. or much to the south like Texas. Texans (like myself) usually insist on calling it dressing. It’s more of a “Northern thing” to say “stuffing”-especially when this combination of spices and bread is cooked stuffed inside the turkey.
Texas, is a sacred place for football. When did we started having football games on Thanksgiving Day? I discovered that the first Thanksgiving Day football game was hosted by the new Detroit Lions NFL team in 1934 at a time when college football was much more popular with fans. The Lions hosted the Chicago Bears and the Bears won that game. However, the Lions continued to host a Thanksgiving Day game. Other than the six seasons during World War II, the Detroit Lions have hosted a Thanksgiving Day game since 1934. The Dallas Cowboys began hosting a Thanksgiving Day game in the 1960’s and have done so every year since. As “America’s Team” it has become a Thanksgiving Day tradition, not only in Texas, but across the United States.
As the day approaches, lets remember to be thankful for the many blessings we have received in the past year. Happy Thanksgiving!
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