A few years ago, I decided that I was going to start celebrating Thanksgiving. It was always hard for me to explain to my in-laws that Christmas is important as Thanksgiving. I like to think I will keep some traditions from back home.
It will be hard for you to explain to English people why Thanksgiving is so important to Americans, believe me I have tried. But if I answer the question why they don’t celebrate it and provide some history facts about Thanksgiving, then that might help you to spread the word.
The easy answer is that it is an American holiday that dates back to when the pilgrims came over.
The pilgrims had the “first Thanksgiving” to give thanks to God for the safe journey to the New World in 1621. They brought enough food from England to feed themselves for a year. Their first harvest failed and they nearly died but they learned skills from the Wampanoag tribe on how to grow corn and catch eels.
It became an federal and public holiday in 1863 and falls on the 4th Thursday of November.
The reasons why Americans celebrate it/ why it is so important:
· Most people have the day after Thanksgiving off so they end up having 4 day weekend.
· Begins the holiday season.
· Time to spend with friends and family.
· Time to be thankful for living in a country that offers us freedom and opportunity.
They do celebrate Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Devon because this is where Pilgrims left England in the Mayflower sailed from to escape religious persecution. Here is a link to one of the reports of its celebration. Its aimed to expatriates that live over here.
The English do have some sort of ceremonies around this time that are amongst the same line as Thanksgiving but they are not public holidays. For instance, Ely Cathedral has a Thanksgiving Eve service and St Paul's Cathedral has a service on Thanksgiving. November is a month for remembrance, we remember those that have given the ultimate sacrifice. We also celebrate the Harvest around this time.
A few things that my family took away, they were happy to ensure that we carry on this tradition for me. They liked Thanksgiving because whilst it is like Christmas, it is not stressful and it makes it nice to spend the time with the family. I will be celebrating Thanksgiving on the Saturday after but I will continue to celebrate it as I integrate it into our traditions as a family.
All the Best!
American to Britain