Thanksgiving Holiday (Blog Contributed by Venkat Aekka, President Detroit Telugu Association)
ThanksGiving is observed on the Fourth Thursday of November and it is the only American Holiday with its history dating back to 1621. When European settlers started arriving in New England area in 17th century and were struggling with farming and cultivation. The local Native Americans assisted the settlers, introducing them to native foods such as corn and squash. They showed them how to hunt and fish. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 at the behest of Governor William Bradford, and the Native Americans were invited guests of honor. Traditionally ThanksGiving was celebrated in Europe for many cetnuries after the harvest season.
Thanksgiving became an official holiday in the United States on October 3, 1863 via proclamation issued by President Abraham Lincoln.The proclamation declared the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day. Every year President ceremoniously celebrates "Pardoning of Turkey" to petting zoos.
The holiday got transformed into families coming together and offering Thanks to Almighty for all showered gifts of the life. Traditionally Native American bird Turkey is cooked as Thanksgiving Dinner. There will be hotlines open for help with Turkey recipes and cooking tips
Family members make every effort to meet Parents with their families on this day. This year more than 43 million Americans gear up this morning for the busiest travel day of the year. Approximately 39 million of today's travelers are hitting the road by car. The Hit Comedy by John Hughes starring Steve Martin & John Candy "Planes Trains and Automobiles" was about troubles with ThanksGiving travel and family reunions. Another tradition for Detroiters is it's Football team Detroit Lions will be on national network and becomes one of most watched football game with extended families.
Friday after ThanksGiving "Black Friday" marks the beginning of shopping season for Christmas holiday. The day is very significant to retailers as 40% of all holiday season sales happens on this day. The doors open at 4:00am with shoppers lining up days before in front of stores. The discounts go as high as 60% to 80% for first few hours of shopping. The 2011 Black Friday sales were up 24% giving much needed boost to sagging economy. There was total $52 billion worth of merchandise sold on this day last year. Following Monday after Thanksgiving "Cyber Monday" amassed $1.25 billion in sales 22% increase over 2010