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The centerpiece of contemporary Thanksgiving in the United States and Canada is a large meal, starring a large roasted turkey. All of the dishes in a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner are made from foods native to North America, the Pilgrims having received these foods from the Indians.

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Thanksgiving Day!

Traditional Thanksgiving Day Celebration

'Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with a large dinner shared among friends and family that has been prepared with culinary skill, best served in Salisbury Mills New York. Those persons invited to celebrate this festive day should arrive by noon if they want to avoid missing delicious appetizers. The dessert menu should contain contributions from those attending, that are prepared to dedicate hours of their time pealing fresh apples and decorating colorful cakes and pastries. All others should just bring properly aged vino and simply stop at the pastry shop of their liking. In both Canada and the United States, it is an important family gathering, and people often travel long distances to be with relatives for the celebration. The Thanksgiving holiday is often a "four-day weekend" in the United States, in which Americans are given the relevant Thursday and Friday off.''

In the Northeastern United States, the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving is one of the busiest nights of the year for bars and pubs, as it is the first night back to their hometowns for many college students returning from the semester.

In New York City, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is held annually every Thanksgiving Day in Midtown Manhattan. The parade features moving stands (also known as "floats") with specific themes, scenes from Broadway plays, large balloons of cartoon characters and TV personalities, and high school marching bands. The float that traditionally ends the Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade, is the Santa Claus float. This float is a sign that the Christmas season has begun. Thanksgiving parades also occur in many other cities such as Plymouth, Houston, Philadelphia (which claims the oldest parade), and Detroit (where it is the only major parade of the year). Within the New York metropolitan area, the city of Stamford, Connecticut holds an alternative parade to the Macy's parade (with different characters on the balloons) the Sunday before Thanksgiving that has attracted over 250,000 people in recent years. Because of the earlier date, Santa Claus parades in Canada do not fall on Thanksgiving; the only major parade on that day in Canada is the Oktoberfest parade in Kitchener-Waterloo.

The North American winter holiday season (generally the Christmas shopping season in the U.S.) traditionally begins when Thanksgiving ends, on "Black Friday" (the day after Thanksgiving); this tradition has held forth since at least the 1930s. While the biggest day of shopping of the year in the U.S., as measured by customer traffic, is still the Friday after Thanksgiving (the biggest by sales volume is either the Saturday before Christmas or December 23), most shops start to stock for and promote the December holidays immediately after Halloween, and sometimes even before. Many Americans are uncomfortable with the ever-longer shopping season and try to put more "thanks" into Thanksgiving, whatever that means for them. The Friday after Thanksgiving is also known as Buy Nothing Day where protesters do not purchase anything to protest what they consider to be the wasteful consumption habits of First World countries.

American football is often a major part of Thanksgiving celebrations in the U.S. and likewise Canadian football in Canada. Professional games are traditionally played on Thanksgiving Day in both countries; until recently in the U.S., these were the only games played during the week apart from Sunday or Monday night. In Canada, these are the only games played on a Monday except for the Labour Day classic, and on the Civic Holiday. The Detroit Lions of the American National Football League have hosted a game every Thanksgiving Day since 1934, with the exception of 1939–1944 (due to World War II). The Dallas Cowboys have hosted every Thanksgiving Day since 1966, with the exception of 1975 and 1977 when the then-St. Louis Cardinals hosted. The Kansas City Chiefs hosted games during their days in the American Football League, and will revive that tradition in 2006 when they host the Denver Broncos on Thanksgiving. Additionally, many college and high school football games are played over Thanksgiving weekend, often between regional or historic rivals.

U.S. tradition associates the holiday with a meal held in 1621 by the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims who settled in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Some of the details of the American Thanksgiving story are myths that developed in the 1890s and early 1900s as part of the effort to forge a common national identity in the aftermath of the Civil War and in the melting pot of new immigrants.

In Canada, Thanksgiving is a three-day weekend (although some provinces choose to observe a four day weekend, Friday–Monday). While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might eat their Thanksgiving meal on any day of that three day weekend. This often means celebrating a meal with one group of relatives on one day, and another meal with a different group of relatives on another day. Though in English Canada Thanksgiving is often celebrated with family, it is also often a time for weekend getaways for couples to observe the fall leaves, the last weekend at the cottage or involves various outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and hunting. The holiday is not as significant a family occasion amongst French Canadians, however.

Source: Thanksgiving Day - Wikipedia

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