What is Thanksgiving and why do we eat turkey?

Every year, hundreds of families gather on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate Thanksgiving and eat turkey

As a prelude to Christmas, hundreds of families gather together on the fourth Thursday of November to celebrate Thanksgiving and eat a delicious turkey.

Thanksgiving Day is one of the year's most important celebrations. In countries such as the United States, Canada (where it is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October), Brazil, Saint Lucia, and Liberia, this celebration is part of official festivities.

This could interest you: Why do Tijuana natives celebrate Thanksgiving?

In Mexico, this celebration has not been officially recognized, but its influence every year is undeniable. Mexican families, especially in the cities of northern Mexico, eat a traditional turkey and give thanks.

Why do Tijuana natives celebrate Thanksgiving?

Tijuana is a geographical spot where a lot of cultural exchange occurs due to the great flow of immigrants that come through this border city. Besides, the city is right next to the United States and its influence, which has caused celebrations such as Thanksgiving to be adopted without any difficulty. That's why Tijuana natives non-officially celebrate some American traditions and festivities.

What is the origin of Thanksgiving and why is turkey eaten?

Thanksgiving began after the English Reformation of 1534 when King Henry VIII broke away from the authority of the pope and the Catholic Church.

King Henry VIII
King Henry VIII

One of the main results of this reform was the removal of Catholic festivities. Before 1536, these celebrations took place on 95 days, which were quite costly, as well as 52 additional Sundays of church attendance.

With these reforms, celebrations were reduced to 27 and festivities were replaced with fasting days or Thanksgiving days, as a response to events that puritans considered acts of divine providence.

Happy incidents such as a good harvest season and the end of a drought or a war required thanksgiving. Unfavorable days required fasting.

Throughout the year, there could be several thanksgiving days, however, it became a tradition to celebrate the end of harvest season in October and thank what had been obtained.

Another hypothesis, related to celebrations in North America, speak about the first official celebration which occurred at Plymouth, Massachusetts in autumn 1621 when English settlers celebrated a banquet after a difficult harvest season.

At this event, they invited members of the Wampanoag tribe who had helped them survive the previous winter in exchange for them joining forces against the rival tribe Narragansett. As such, Thanksgiving is considered a moment of truce between settlers and natives.

George Washington made the festivity official in 1789, making it the fourth Thursday of November.

Why is turkey eaten?

The fact that turkey is the main dish of this celebration is not strange. Back then, the conditions in which settlers lived were complicated. It was more cost-effective to raise birds than livestock. The same thing happened when cooking a banquet or dinner: to cook a bird was more practical than a cow or lamb.

The reason why it is a turkey instead of a chicken is because the turkey had more meat and could feed more people.

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