Perhaps the most distinctly American of all major US holidays is Thanksgiving (after all, most countries have some sort of founder’s day celebration). This special day is dedicated to appreciating all of the ways in which life has been kind to us– from the company of friends and family to the joy of a delicious meal and everything in between.
Although Thanksgiving only became a national holiday in the mid-1800s, its origins date back much further. In fact, parts of New England have been celebrating it for nearly four hundred years. In 1621, what was to one day become Plymouth, Massachusetts, the local Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans joined together with British colonists in a feast that celebrated the coming together of two distinct peoples grateful for a bountiful harvest. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made this New England tradition into a national holiday to be held on the fourth Thursday of each November as a means of reminding a divided country that even people with great differences were capable of working toward the same goals.
Today, Thanksgiving is both a time to remember a positive aspect of American history and to appreciate all of the blessings in our lives. Families traverse the country and come together in the same place, often for the only time all year. And of course, the holiday is known for its food: cranberries, squash, and other native North American produce make of the staples of the meal, which is punctuate by a massive turkey, another food only found in the American wilderness.
The most ubiquitous of all Thanksgiving traditions, however, may well be the fabulous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. Now in its 87th year, many people across the country consider this massive parade down the streets of Manhattan the official opener to the winter holiday season. The massive balloons, mostly depicting classic pop-culture icons, can be several stories tall and need a litany of people to handle them. Floats are designed by special artists and can reach 40 feet in height. The parade ends with the coming of Santa through the streets of the city to the cheers of millions of people.
If you’d like to experience this special slice of Americana, TakeTours is offering some Thanksgiving travel options for the holiday season. Our 7-Day Thanksgiving Tour Package from New York includes Black Friday (ie, the day immediately following Thanksgiving) shopping, and the 1-Day Thanksgiving Tour from Boston allows visitors to board a recreation of the original Mayflower ship.
And in the spirit of the holiday, from us at TakeTours to you: Thanks!