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Welcome to Boston Homestay - Danish Ringkjobing Group!13-Oct-2018

Global Immersions Homestay welcomed a large group of visitors from Ringkjøbing in Denmark. T..

Office Closed on Fridays05-Oct-2018

The Global Immersions Homestay office will be closed on Fridays beginning Friday, October 5, 201..


Best in Hospitality

Around the World in Easter Eggs

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, March 23, 2018

Easter, (a Christian religious holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ) is right around the corner. Next Sunday, followers of the Christian religion will celebrate Easter by attending Church services, and attending parties or meals with family. Another Easter tradition observed by many Christian families around the world is decorating Easter eggs. Each country has its own way of decorating Easter Eggs, many of which reflect the history of that culture. Here is a look at Easter Eggs decorations around the globe.


Ukraine 

Ukrainian Easter eggs, or psyanky, are decorated with traditional Ukrainian folk designs using a wax-resist method to create intricate patterns. Historically, each region, village, and family had its own symbols, rituals, and meanings associated with the dying of each egg. Pysanky were typically created by the woman or mother of the house, and designed on raw or sometimes baked eggs, rather than boiled eggs. The eggs needed to be fertilized by a rooster, to symbolize the brining of fertility into the household. Pysanky were made to be given to family members and respected outsiders, such as priests.  They were often placed in the same area as farm animals to bring good fortune for the coming harvest. For example, a Pysanka might be placed in a cows manger to ensure a good milk supply, or placed near a bee hive to ensure a large production of honey.


Greece

In Greece, eggs are traditionally dyed a deep red for Easter. The origin behind this color stems from many myths, however the most common reason for the red dye is to symbolize the blood of Jesus Christ. On Easter Sunday, Greeks play a game of cracking their eggs , or "tsougrisma" in Greek, to symbolize the breaking open of Jesus' tomb and his resurrection. The game is played by two people each holding one egg and tapping them on top of one another. The goal of the game is to crack the other player's egg. The winner of the game is the one whose egg cracks both ends of the other players eggs.


Mexico

Cascarones are hollowed-out eggshells filled with confetti or small toys that are common throughout Mexico. While cascarones are most notably used in Mexico during the festival Carnival, they have become a popular Easter tradition in areas along the U.S. - Mexico border. Cascarones are created by breaking a hole in the top of an eggshell and then pouring the contents out. The shell is then cleaned, decorated, and dried before it is filled with confetti. The outside hole is then covered with glue or tissue paper. Having a cascaron broken over ones head is considered a sign of good luck, and the eggs are now often used in other ceremonies such as during Day of the Dead and at weddings.


Japan
Easter is not widely celebrated in Japan, as only 1% of the population is reported as practicing Christianity. However, those that do observe the religious holiday often create Easter eggs decorated with delicate origami paper, known in Japanese as "washi". The washi egg is created by first  removing the contents of the egg to hollow it out. Then, a rectangle of washi paper, large enough to cover the egg, is folded in half, and cut nearly to the middle every quarter inch to form a fringe of narrow strips. Each strip is trimmed to a point. The paper is unfolded, rolled around the egg, and glued on one strip at a time. After the egg is varnished.

Source: Brit.co

St. Patrick's Day in the City

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, March 13, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day, a holiday that originated in Ireland is celebrated widely, and perhaps more enthusiastically in the United States. The United States, due to its large Irish population, adopted the holiday and now cities and towns around the country have St. Patrick’s Day parades and traditions. Here are some cities known for their St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the U.S.

Boston:

The first St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the United States was held in Boston in 1737. While St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland is primarily a religious holiday, in the United States it is secular and is observed by Irish and non-Irish residents alike. Each year, Boston celebrates St. Patty’s Day with a parade in South Boston- a famously Irish-American area of the city. Irish rock band, The Dropkick Murphy’s, most known for their song “Shipping Up to Boston”, traditionally plays a St. Patrick’s Day concert in the city.

According to a 2015 U.S. census, 32.7 million Americans claimed Irish ancestry. This number is 7 times the population of Ireland.

New York City:

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in NYC in 1762. In 2002, the New York City St. Patrick’s Day parade honored victims an heroes of 9/11 and featured over 300,000 participants and 3 million spectators, making it the largest parade to date. In 2014, the NYC St. Patty’s Day Parade made news again after parade organizers announced the first ever LGBT group march- effectively ending the ban on these groups participating. The NYC parade as a notably long parade route- extending from 5th Avenue to 44th and 79th streets. It has become known as the world’s largest ST. Patrick’s Day parade.

Chicago:

Chicago’s tradition of St. Patrick’s Day parades began in 1955. This city is perhaps most known for dying the Chicago River green during St. Patrick’s Day. The river is dyed on the morning of the parade. The dying process takes about 45 minutes, and, depending on weather, the river can stay green for several days. The river was turned green for the first time in 1962. Flour sifters filled with 40 pounds of environmentally friendly orange powder are used to turn the river a bright green. Two boats are used to spread out the color. 

Interested in learning more about St. Patick's Day. Check out The History Channel's graphic of St. Patty's Day facts.


Source: CNN, The Chicago Tribune

Winter Olympic Wrap-up

Global Immersions Recruiting - Friday, February 23, 2018

The past two weeks seem to have really flown by, as the 2018 Winter Olympics are coming to an end. Sunday night, the Games will conclude with the Olympics closing ceremony. PyeongChang will thank the athletes for their participation, just as it welcomed them during the Opening Ceremony. This year's Winter Olympics have been an exciting display of athleticism and talent. As of today, the total medal count for the top 10 scoring countries is as follows:


Highlights

Team USA had its fare share of memorable moments at the Games. Here are some of the top highlights from the Olympics thus far.


Hockey

The U.S. Women's Hockey Team beat rivals Canada in a 3-2 shootout. This was the first time the U.S. Women's team has one gold since 1998. The team has lost to Canada in 3 of the past 4 Olympic finals.


Curling

Another victory for the U.S. over Canada- the third-seeded Men's curling team, beat second-seeded Canada yesterday  in the Semi-finals. This was the first time the U.S. had advanced to the curling semi-finals since 2006, after defeating Switzerland and Great Britain. The Men's Curling finals will air on Saturday with the U.S. facing off against Sweden for the gold.


Figure Skating

U.S. figure skating saw some historic moments at the games this year, as multiple athletes set Olympic records. Competitor Mirai Nagasu became the first woman to land a triple axle in an Olympic competition, though in the end she finished tenth. Nathan Chen, the 17-year old Men's figure skating star, came back from a disappointing short program to ultimately land 5 quadruple flips - the most ever landed in one Olympic routine.


Snowboarding

The U.S. Team shined in Olympic snowboarding  events, gathering gold medals from stars like Chloe Kim, and Jamie Anderson. 17-year old Red Gerard won the first gold medal for the U.S. of the Olympics in the Men's slope style competition. Shaun White claimed his 3rd gold medal in the men's half pipe competition, after failing to place in the previous Winter Games.  

How to Watch

The Olympic closing ceremonies will air Sunday (2/25) at 8 pm on NBC. You can find a schedule of the remaining events here.

The Year of the Dog

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Lunar New Year began last week, and this year is the Year of the Dog. But what does that mean? Here is a little background on the Lunar New Year tradition.  


The Chinese calendar revolves around 12 animal zodiac signs. In order these animals are: Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, Pig.

These animals are not as random as they may seem, the ox, horse, goat, rooster, pig, and dog are some of the main animals domesticated by Chinese people and the rat, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake and monkey are all loved by the Chinese.

The animals rotate based on the idea of Yin and Yang, each animal is determined to be a yin or yang based upon the even or odd number of toes/hooves/paws they have. The yang attribute comes first followed by yin. This cycle repeats every 12 years.


This is the year of the dog, which means any person born in this year will have the dog as their Chinese zodiac symbol. Previous years of the dog include 2006, 1994, 1982, 1970, 1958, 1946, and 1934.

Each zodiac animal is paired with a Celestial Stem (the elements of earth, wind, fire, and wood). These Celestial Stems rotate on a 60-year cycle. Your zodiac year and Celestial Stem pairing are believed to influence your personality traits and relationships with others. This year's Celestial Stem is Earth which means dogs born in this year " are stubborn and never give up. They aren’t very connected with the world and society. Though stubborn, they respect other perspectives. They believe that as long as they work hard, they’ll make it." There has not been a Year of the Dog with the Celestial Stem Earth since 1958.

The Year of the Dog will influence the year for other signs. Depending on how compatible certain signs are with the dog, they will have a successful or challenging year. The zodiac year will dictate how other signs should dress, decorate their homes, or act, if they want good fortune.

For those born in previous Years of the Dog, this year will be difficult. Your zodiac year is seen as a "hurdle you have to jump over" or hardship you must overcome. Traditionally, the way to protect oneself from evil spirits and bad luck during one's zodiac year was to wear red underwear everyday for the entire year. While this practice may not be widely observed by many Chinese today, bad fortune in one's zodiac year is still treated as a concern.

If you're interested in your Chinese zodiac, you can find out what the Year of the Dog will bring you here

Super Bowl $tats: The Cost of Super Bowl LII

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, January 30, 2018

This Sunday, The New England Patriots will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII. The Patriots have won 5 out of the 9 total Super bowls they have played in. Sunday will determine if Patriots' quarterback, Tom Brady, will receive his 6th Super Bowl win in his 8th Super Bowl appearance.

The Eagles have appeared in 2 previous Super Bowls, though have never emerged victorious. The team took on the Patriots once before in 2004, losing 21-24 in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Sunday's game is sure to be exciting as the Patriots fight to hang onto their title as reigning Super Bowl Champions.

Super Bowl Sunday is definitely a heavily advertised event, but just how popular is it? You may be surprised to learn exactly how much money is spent by Americans on game day every year.

Super Bowl Stats

Over 100 million people watch the Super Bowl every year. This means that over 100 million people see Super Bowl Ads. 

Over the last 50 years corporations have spent a total of $4.9 billion dollars on advertising during the Super Bowl. The current average cost of airspace for a 30- second commercial is $5 million dollars. 


Americans spend $1.2 billion dollars on beer for the Super Bowl and $1.1 billion on other alcohol.

$82 million dollars is spent on chicken wings alone - the most popular game day snack. 

Americans spend $1.4 billion dollars on Super Bowl parties, most of which is spent on food and drink. 

Snacks by State

According to Thrillist the most popular Super Bowl snacks in the states of Massachusetts and Pennsylvania (where the Patriots and Eagles have their home fields) are buffalo chicken dip and Potato Soup, respectively. In Minnesota (where they will play on Sunday) the most popular snack is Tater Tot Casserole.

Here is the most popular game day snacks by state: 

Alabama -- Mississippi Roast
Alaska -- Potato Salad
Arizona -- Chili
Arkansas -- Queso Cheese Dip
California -- Chicken Wings
Colorado -- Taco Pie
Connecticut -- Slow Cooker Chicken Wings
Delaware -- Butter Cake Bars
Florida -- Sausage Cheese Balls
Georgia -- Sliders
Hawaii -- Crescent Sloppy Joes
Idaho -- Little Smokies
Illinois -- Chex Mix
Indiana -- Root Beer Chicken
Iowa -- Pigs In A Blanket
Kansas -- Dill Pickle Soup
Kentucky -- Buffalo Chicken Casserole
Lousiana -- Crab au Gratin
Maine -- Clam Dip
Maryland -- Pizza Sticks
Massachusetts -- Buffalo Chicken Dip
Michigan -- Potato Soup
Minnesota -- Tater Tot Casserole/Hot Dish
Mississippi -- Beef Stew
Missouri -- Hamburgers
Montana -- Buffalo Chicken Dip
Nebraska -- Hot Wings
Nevada -- Sausage Cheese Balls
New Hampshire -- Chili
New Jersey -- Chili
New Mexico -- Seven Layer Taco Dip
New York -- Buffalo Chicken Wings
North Carolina -- Sausage Cheese Balls
North Dakota -- Bacon-Wrapped Smokies
Ohio -- White Chicken Chili
Oklahoma -- Stuffed Mushrooms 
Oregon -- Taco Soup
Pennsylvania -- Potato Soup
Rhode Island -- Chili
South Carolina -- Cowboy Caviar
South Dakota -- Hummus
Tennessee -- Skillet Dips
Texas -- Sausage Cheese Balls
Utah -- Pulled Pork
Vermont -- Bruschetta
Virginia -- Deviled Eggs
Washington -- Jalapeno Popper Dip
West Virginia -- Sliders
Wisconsin -- Pinwheels
Wyoming -- Sliders

Super Bowl LII airs this Sunday, February 4th, at 6:30 pm on NBC

Don't have cable? Don't worry. Learn about other viewing options here.

Source: Parade

When the Clock Strikes 12

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, December 28, 2017

Whether viewed as an anthem, lifestyle, or fact, it’s 5 o'clock Somewhere. On December 31, a different hour is anticipated. The New Year is rung in all over the globe, in each time zone with fireworks and festivities.

First Night Boston, the oldest and largest event of its kind in the country, derived from a woman’s dream for a nontraditional night out. In 1975, Clara and Bill Wainwright attended a New Year's Eve party and found it predictable. They envisioned an Inclusive family-friendly celebration. The couple began organizing their project of a creative night by meeting with local artists. With partners and sponsors, they were able to plan more more than a hundred individual events across the city, including concerts, displays, and fireworks. New England weather is unpredictable, and the temperature reached a windchill of ten degrees below zero. About 25,000 people bundled up to experience First Night. It has since become a tradition and inspired similar events throughout the country and the world. 

The first major city to experience the New Year is Sydney. The largest fireworks display of the world is presented on the harbor, with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House making the show only more alluring. A ceremony presented by the Aboriginal peoples, showcases eucalyptus smoke billowing over the water, cleansing the Harbour of bad spirits. Family Fireworks go off at 9 pm for young Aussies to view, with the larger presentation following at the stroke of midnight. The parade of boats illuminated with strings of lights, glide through the harbor.

Perhaps the most thought celebration spot for New Year’s Eve is New York City. With millions gathering to watch the ball drop in Times Square and hours of notable musical guests, it is no wonder it is the most famous. The pricey alternative to partying outside is to have reservations or attend parties at the restaurants or bars overlooking the festivities. Crowds aren’t for everyone, which makes the televised broadcast, “Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest” such a success. 


“Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Ryan Seacrest” now features segments from the Las Vegas party with additional guest appearances from celebrities. The Las Vegas Strip is known for entertainment, making it one of the great party destinations. On New Year’s Eve the road is shut down and transformed into a street party with live bands and pyrotechnics from various locations.

Another city known for partying, Rio de Janeiro is a top New Year’s Eve Destination. Known for its Carnival blowout, the New Year’s Eve bash maintains the same level of excitement, making it the largest New Year’s Eve party in the world. Over two million flock to the two and a half mile stretch of sand, known as Copacabana Beach. While Copacabana Beach is the most popular, smaller events will take place on other beaches and locations. Locals will traditionally wear white and will toss flowers and offerings into the ocean. Oceanfront stages host live musical and dance performances.


Needless to say, cities around the world are well-versed in celebrating the New Year. What are YOUR plans to welcome in 2018? 

Everyone here at Global Immersions hopes you have a fabulous New Year!!

Christmas: Then and Now

Global Immersions Recruiting - Thursday, December 21, 2017

The winter solstice marked the short, harsh and dark winter days were coming to an end. Longer days and extended hours of sunlight are highly anticipated and brought hope to those seeking comfort in the sun. This Pagan celebration was soon absorbed by others and transitioned into a Christian holiday. The winter holiday became an anniversary celebration of the birth of Jesus. From one religion to another and constantly evolving, Christmas of today has religious implications but the commercialized aspects have far outgrown the religious ones. Narratives once revolved around Jesus, but Santa Claus has since become the integral character for Christmas stories.

Not always the popular holiday it is today, Christmas was outlawed in Boston from 1659 to 1681. Puritan beliefs countered the celebration and those participating in Christmas festivities were fined five shillings. While other settlements did not have these strict regulations and Christmas slowly gained popularity. Christmas was declared a federal holiday in the United States in on June 26, 1870. Globalization and developing technologies have changed and spread traditions. Each family has different traditions, as does each country. Other traditions and celebrations are unique to a country or town.

Christmas trees have become a symbol of Christmas. Christmas trees were first seen in Germany and immigrants brought the concept to the United States. Thought of as a Pagan tradition, it was not widely embraced initially. The first record of a Christmas tree being publicly displayed was in the 1830s. This display in Pennsylvania was created by German immigrants who had been decorating such trees in their communities for years. Popularity of Christmas trees grew after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, who was German, were photographed with their children around one.

St. Lucia (Lucy) Day is celebrated widely, but most common in Scandinavia on December 13. The name Lucy refers to “light” and the celebration initially coincide with the winter solstice. To commemorate her death, a girl will dress in a white gown with a red sash around the waist. A crown of twigs and nine lit candles adorn her head. Processions are common in towns and one girl is selected for the honor of leading it. She will dress with the sash and crown of candles, but the other participants will carry a candle


Gävlebocken, the Gävle Goat, is a holiday display in Gävle, Sweden. Comprised of straw, the goat has cost upwards of a quarter of a million dollars to create and maintain. Since the tradition was introduced in 1966, the Gävle Goat has been destroyed by vandals 35 times in the past 50 years. Increased resources have been allocated to the protection of the display.  

While everyone might be dreaming of a white Christmas, some have white sandy beaches. In the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas is in the middle of summer. Australians  tend to go to the beach and have a picnic as their Christmas meal. The weather permits plenty of outdoor activities for the whole family to enjoy.


All in all, Christmas around the world is celebrated in various styles and fashions, but most people would agree that the most important part of Christmas is the time we spend with family!

Merry Christmas to all!

The Story of Hanukkah

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Hanukkah, also known as the Festival of Lights, is a centuries-old Jewish celebration that commemorates the rededication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem. As legend goes, in 166 BC, the Jewish people rose against their Greek-Syrian oppressors in the Maccabean Revolt. First led by father and priest, Mattathias Maccabee, and then by his son, Judah, the rebellion lasted for well over two years, and ended in what is considered the 'miracle' of light.

The Greek-Syrian oppressors had desecrated the holy Temple in Jerusalem by erecting a statue of Zeus and sacrificing pigs upon its altar. Their leader, Antiochus, gave the Jewish people an ultimatum: conversion or death. Though outnumbered, Judah Maccabee and his followers won two important battles, virtually ridding the city of the Greek-Syrian oppressors.

At the end of the Maccabean Revolt, Judah called upon his followers to cleanse the Temple, rebuild its original altar, and light its menorah. To everyone's dismay, there was only enough untainted oil to keep the menorah lit for a single day. The flames, however, continued to flicker for eight nights, allowing the Jewish people enough time to find a fresh supply of oil. This miracle inspired the annual eight-day festival of lights, Hanukkah, which means 'dedication' in Hebrew, and reminds Jews today to rededicate themselves to the Jewish religion, culture, and people.

Today, the celebration of Hanukkah revolves around lighting the menorah, eating foods cooked in oil (such as latkes and jam-filled donuts), playing with toy dreidels, and spending time with family. Though it is not considered a Jewish "high holiday", in which restrictions are placed on school, work, or other activities,  Hanukkah has seen an explosion of commercial attention, as it usually lands near Christmas. This year, Hanukkah began on Tuesday, December 12, and will go through Wednesday, December 20.

Happy Hanukkah to all!

Sources: History and RJ

A Boston Holiday Season

Global Immersions Recruiting - Wednesday, December 06, 2017

As many of you know, the start of December is the official kick off for the Winter holiday season, and Boston is as charming a city as they come this time of year. If you're looking for fun things to do this month, then look no further because we've compiled a list of the best activities this season.

Light shows:

Greenway Carousel: From December 1, 2017 through January 1, 2018, head over to the Greenway Carousel to take a spin against the backdrop of bright, festive light shows and favorite holiday tunes. Beginning at 4:45pm and running until close, these light shows are sure to brighten up a cold winter's evening.

Somerville Illumination Trolley Tours: Several homes in Somerville go all out with their holiday decorations, and the Somerville Arts Council created a trolley tour to shuttle interested parties from house to house to check them out. Tour is Saturday, December 16, from 4:30pm to 10:00pm. 

ZooLights, Stoneham: Every year, the Stoneham Stone Zoo puts on a dazzling holiday light show from 5:00pm to 9:00pm each evening through December 31. This spectacular display is in addition to wonderful holiday-themed decorations added to many animal enclosures.

The Lynn Fells Parkway, Saugus: For over 60 years, families pile into their cars for a slow drive down the Lynn Fells Parkway on the North Shore. Most residents on this mile-long stretch of road gave up counting the number of bulbs on their property, though their estimates are in the thousands.

Blink! Faneuil Hall: Holiday shoppers around the Faneuil Hall area have been able to enjoy an audiovisual show called Blink!, where 350,000 LED lights dance to the music of the Holiday Pops. The spectacle lasts about 7 minutes, but plays throughout the night from 4:30pm to 9:30pm until January 1.

La Salette Shrine: For over 60 years, La Salette Shrine in Attleboro has amazed visitors with displays of over 300,000 lights spread across 10 acres. There is also an international crèche museum with more than 1,000 crèches. Open daily from 5:00pm to 9:00pm though January 1.

Your OWN! If you can, take your visitor along for a drive around the neighborhood to see all of the holiday decorations near your home! And for a more comprehensive list of the best light shows around Boston, follow this link!

More holiday activities:


December can be a brutally cold month, and you won't always want to enjoy the holiday cheer outdoors. Instead, perhaps purchasing tickets to Boston Ballet: The Nutcracker, or the Holiday Pops show, or to Black Nativity, or to the Disney on Ice: Dream Big tour will fill you with the holiday spirit while keeping your hands and toes warm. Either way, any of these shows will prove to be quite fun. The Nutcracker and the Holiday Pops show run through December 31, Black Nativity will run through December 17, and the Disney on Ice tour will be here until January 1!

Another fun way to get into the holiday spirit is on the Northern Lights Boston Harbor cruise. There are three different holiday cruises this year: the Irish Christmas Carols Cruise, the Holiday Jazz Cruise, and the Cocoa & Carols Holiday Cruise, all featuring live music, holiday decor, and delicious beverages. Take your pick of these cheerful holiday cruises!


If you're downtown completing your holiday shopping, you should also check out the different ice skating opportunities! Frog Pond is an age-old favorite for many Bostonians. Bring your own or rent some skates and twirl on the rink surrounded by holiday lights covering Boston Common's trees. The city's newest skating venue is right in City Hall Plaza for Boston's Winter Wonderland. Open 7 days a week, Boston Winter offers a skating opportunity as well as an outdoor holiday shopping market!

Love to ski or snowboard? Nashoba Valley Ski Area is only 45 minutes away from Boston and has a lovely relaxed environment. The Blue Hills in Canton, MA is a family-oriented, good-for-learners mountain, and Pats Peak is another mountain in Southern New Hampshire that has lots of ski/snowboard instructors on site and homemade food in the cafeteria. If you'd like a longer list of nearby skiing and snowboarding opportunities, follow this link!

If you're interested in Boston's history, then come out to the 244th Boston Tea Party Reenactment. On December 16, 6:30pm, meet at the Old South Meeting House near State Street to join more than 100 volunteer reenactors, including Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, and John Hancock. The procession will gather at the Old South Meeting House for a debate and proceed with fifes and drums in tow to Griffin's Wharf to dump a load of tea in the Boston Harbor. Rain or shine, it should be a sight to see!


Last and certainly not least, welcome in the New Year at First Night 2018! Join the million or so people who come to celebrate the New Year in Boston at this huge city-wide event. There will be entertainers, food, performances, a parade, fireworks, and ice sculptures. Be sure to bundle up and head into the city on December 31 for some great eats and even better experiences!

Thanksgiving: Then and Now

Global Immersions Recruiting - Tuesday, November 21, 2017

In 1620 the Mayflower, a small ship carrying 102 passengers landed in Plymouth. They journeyed across the ocean seeking religious freedom and prosperity. Their first winter in Massachusetts was brutal and many of the original passengers and crew died before they could see the spring. They were greeted by the indigenous people who taught them how to survive in their new environment. They were taught to cultivate the land and how to live off of the land. In the fall of 1621, their successful harvest prompted a celebratory feast and select Native Americans were invited. This is considered to be America’s first Thanksgiving. 

As time passed, more days of thanks were called upon to celebrate the end of droughts and wars. These thanksgivings were held on various days and locations, depending upon what was being celebrated. New York was the first state to adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday. Other states followed, but celebrated on different days. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln initiated the country’s annual Thanksgiving holiday to be the fourth week in November. In 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up one week to increase retail sales during the Great Depression. Due to the backlash, in 1941 Roosevelt returned Thanksgiving to its prior date. 

Table are cluttered on Thanksgiving with a variety of dishes. The foods eaten on Thanksgiving are dependent upon the background and traditions of the family as well as the region they reside. The stereotypical Thanksgiving dish for, turkey may not have been eaten at the first Thanksgiving. They are prepared in numerous ways, including roasting, baking and deep-frying. Main dishes of ham, roast beef and lobster are seen. Perhaps the most creative main, turducken is a chicken stuffed inside of a duck, which is stuffed into a turkey. Some regions have specialty dishes. Cranberries can be seen in different forms. About twenty percent of cranberries are eaten during Thanksgiving week. Creamed onions are not seen outside of New England and macaroni and cheese is primarily offered in the South. Perhaps there is something more American than apple pie. Different pies are popular in different regions on Thanksgiving. While New England and the Mid-Atlantic states love their apple pie, the South has pecan and sweet potato pie and the Midwest, and West are known to have cherry pie. 

Although food is the focus on Thanksgiving, it is not the only aspect of the holiday. Parades have become an integral part of the holiday. Since 1924, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has been entertaining millions in New York City and more watching on television from the comfort of their own home. The parade route travels through Manhattan with floats and balloons, marching bands, Broadway performances, celebrity appearances.The finally of the parade is Santa Claus, the symbol the Christmas season has begun. 

Other spectator events include football. The National Football League presents professional games, but community’s gather for high school games. These games are traditionally rivalry games and build a sense of camaraderie within the towns. And if that isn’t enough football, some families will have backyard touch football games.

To counter the large meal, many people participate in Turkey Trots. Turkey Trots are a road running event which are held in numerous towns and cities on Thanksgiving morning. The distances and number of participants vary. These types of events are often fundraisers for local charities.

Each year one or two lucky turkeys are awarded a presidential pardon. These birds are spared from being slaughtered and are sent to a farm for retirement. John F. Kennedy is reported to be the first president to pardon a turkey, but earlier presidents have been rumored to do so. In 1989, George H. W. Bush made the annual turkey pardon a permanent tradition.

Thanksgiving has since lost its original significance. Rather than a harvest festival, it now centers on cooking and sharing a feast with family and friends. While celebrated by most, it is protested by some. Since 1970, protesters have gathered at Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, MA on Thanksgiving Day to commemorate the National Day of Mourning. For some, Thanksgiving serves as a reminder of the Native American suffering as a result of European settlers. This day honors ancestors and recognizes the hardships faced by the Native American people. Similar events are held throughout the country.