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All You Need to Know About American Thanksgiving

All You Need to Know About American Thanksgiving

16 November, 2020

If you are a student studying in the USA for the first time this year, you might not be familiar with Thanksgiving, the day all Americans consider as one of the most important days throughout the year. On the 26th of this month - November 2020 - the United States of America turns 157! Not so long ago, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared the 4th Thursday of every November as a federal holiday called "Thanksgiving". 

The History/Origin of Thanksgiving Day:

Thanksgiving is the annual national holiday that celebrates the harvest and blessings of the year. Native Americans used to hold a ceremony at the end of each season, to celebrate mother nature's produce and give thanks to God for providing. Thus, a big feast celebrating the Summer harvest at the beginning of the Fall used to be held as an act of gratitude for God's blessings.  

Pilgrims adopted this native tradition as a part of modern American culture. Back then, the soon to be "thanksgiving meal" was held for a whole three days gathering the Native Americans and the Pilgrims together on one table celebrating what mother earth had given them. 

Thanksgiving Traditions - How Culturally Important it is!

Americans consider Thanksgiving the 2nd most important holiday of the year after Christmas. Followed by the infamous Black Friday, the Thanksgiving holiday commonly lasts for 4 days for most of the US citizens. 

How is Thanksgiving Celebrated in the USA?

Thanksgiving Eve - A Cosy Family Gathering!

Usually, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving Eve - is also celebrated when individuals often come home and join their families for a nice meal and a catch up before the Thanksgiving day itself. 

Macy's - The Annual New York Thanksgiving Parade! 

An essential part of USA celebrations for Thanksgiving, Macy's parade is televised live throughout the nation, gathering people from all around the States to celebrate the day dancing, singing, and sharing food and drinks. It's a fairly new tradition to US culture, as it first started in 1924 after 61 years of the declaration of Thanksgiving day by Lincoln. 

It's the perfect event to get to know the American culture a bit more and to enjoy the country as much as you can. However, with the pandemic in the picture, it's a good idea to enjoy the gathering aspect with your flatmates this year, rather than going out in large groups and endanger yourself and others. Maybe try watching old recorded celebrations just to get a feel of what used to be happening on this day. 

Traditional Thanksgiving Food - List With All The Goodies!

As a celebration that depends heavily on dinner parties, gatherings and food competitions with friends and family, your dinner table should have a list of some or maybe all of the goodies in the below list. 

  • Roast Turkey
  • Turkey Stuffing 
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Gravy
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Pumpkin Pie

Dishes You Can Make With Your Own Cultural Flare! 

If you're an international student, making your own fusion of food from your own culture and the US culture, then here are some ideas to help inspire your flare and amaze your American friends!

1. Asian-Inspired Thanksgiving Food 

  • Chinese Turkey:

The traditional Thanksgiving turkey recipe is to soak the bird in wet or dry brine - most of the time people used to go for the wet one - leave it for a while to marinate and absorb most of the liquid and then put it in the oven with all the dilemma of turning every 15 minutes, glazing every 30 minutes and whatnot. 

However, a flavour upgrade has been infused into the recipe, and a lot of Asian-American families are now using the Cantonese marinade as a brine, consisting of soy sauce, oyster sauce, rice wine, garlic, and ginger. 

2. Middle Eastern-Inspired Thanksgiving Food:

  • Maple Pecan Baklava: 

Instead of indulging in the moisture of a pumpkin pie this year, maybe try the crispy yet tender Baklava. It will leave you with a sensational experience, as the crisp of the Baklava melts in your mouth, mixed with the smokiness and richness of the pecan. Your taste buds will explode with flavour! 

This recipe requires 250 gm phyllo pastry, butter, pecans, corn syrup, sugar, water and maple syrup. Preheat the oven and butter a baking dish, then cut the pastry into squares that fit the dish. Add 3 buttered layers of the pastry then sprinkle the pecans and repeat till the baking dish is half full. 

Finally, boil all wet ingredients (maple syrup, sugar, corn syrup and water) to create the syrup and pour it on top of the baked Baklava. 

  • Hummus With White Bean and Edamame:

Buy a pack of shelled edamame and a can of cooked white beans to use as a base for this stunning recipe. Prepare wasabi powder, lemon juice, garlic, tahini, water and salt and pepper for seasoning. 

Add all the ingredients inside the food processor without water first then blend. Add water bit by bit while moving the paste around and keep blending until  you get a smooth, thick consistency. 

3. Indian-Inspired Thanksgiving Food:

  • Pumpkin Naan: 

The taste of naan bread is in itself an experience, with a combination of moisture and smokiness, eating Naan is indeed a fulfilling moment and tremendously good addition to any dish in the world! Imagine combining this, with a touch of sweet, smoky pumpkin in the dough mixture! Maybe that exact fusion is what we all need right now!  

Pumpkin puree is the base of the Pumpkin Naan, instead of the yoghurt. All you need to prepare for the dough of this dish is garlic, egg, baking powder, dry yeast, honey, warm water and flour. 

Add the warm water and honey together and stir till the honey has dissolved then add the yeast to the mix. In a large mixing bowl, add flour, pumpkin purée, salt, baking powder, eggs and chopped garlic. 

Add the yeast mixture then mix with your hands until you are able to create a dough. Keep kneading the dough until you feel it is soft enough then let it rest for 2 hours. Now cut and spread the dough into as many naans as you want and heat a skillet to medium-high temperature and cook each naan for 1 minute on each side then it's ready.  

Black Friday and Amazon's Cyber Monday sale! 

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, and it is the best sale of the year when multiple brands offer discounts of up to 50% all over the USA. After having absolute fun for four days straight, Amazon hypes up the fun and holds its "Cyber Monday' sale on the following Monday, considering it the virtual/e-commerce version of Black Friday. For more information on the best student deals this Black Friday, check out our blog "Best Black Friday Deals 2020."



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