R U JOKING, GRANDAD BLOG 1st November 2017


Today sees the United States wrapped up in Thanksgiving celebrations – the starting gun that symbolises the beginning of the holiday season across North America.the starting gun that symbolises the beginning of the holiday season across North America.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade

On my bucket list is to go to New York for Thanksgiving Day and see the Macy’s Parade. But as that is in term time it ain’t going to happen is it?


But I can dream.


Much of the rest of the world watch this family and food-fuelled day off with bafflement. (Not me – This is taken from The Week website)


So what is Thanksgiving and how does the US mark the occasion?


Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November so this year will be on the 23 – the day before the Black Friday shopping bonanza.


In 1862, in the midst of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each year on the final Thursday of November.


However, it was not until 1939, that Franklin D. Roosevelt designated the exact date that is marked today.  It was believed that by moving Thanksgiving forward a week it would help regulate the holiday (as November sometimes has five Thursdays) and would give a boost to retailers before Christmas during the Great Depression.


What is the history of the holiday?

It dates back to the arrival of English settlers, the Pilgrim Fathers, who founded “New Plymouth”, today’s Massachusetts, in 1620.


However, their first winter in the new world proved extremely difficult and the harvest was not particularly fruitful. Half of the group reportedly starved to death.


The story goes that Native Americans stepped in to help with their farming and as a sign of gratitude, the Pilgrims invited them to join a three-day feast in the successful 1621 harvest season.


Isn’t there also a darker side?

Symbolising the first meeting between European settlers and the indigenous population, later Thanksgivings were used to commemorate the military victory over native tribes. As the religious and agricultural significance of the day has become lost it has become a focal point for those who feel displaced or disenfranchised.


In recent years, Thanksgiving pageants have become particularly controversial as some feature dancers dressed in Native American costumes and face paint. Some states have now banned schools from performing Thanksgiving parades.


So how is it celebrated?

Thanksgiving is, predictably, celebrated with a huge amount of food. The traditional dinner is a feast of turkey, stuffing, vegetables and many other treats, all enjoyed with family and friends. The commonly cited statistic is that the average American will consume more than 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving Day.


Numerous cities across the US also hold a Thanksgiving Day parade, the most well-known being in New York.


The annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, the world’s largest parade,[2] is presented by the U.S.-based department store chain Macy’s. The tradition started in 1924, tying it for the second-oldest Thanksgiving parade in the United States with America’s Thanksgiving Parade in Detroit (with both parades being four years younger than the 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia). The three-hour Macy’s event is held in Manhattan starting at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on Thanksgiving Day, and has been televised nationally on NBC since 1952.


Since 2013, the balloons in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have come in two varieties. The first (and older of the two) is the novelty balloon class, consisting of smaller balloons; the novelty balloons range widely in size and are handled by between one and thirty people (the smallest novelty balloons are shaped like human heads and fit on the actual heads of the handlers). The second and more widely known is the full-size balloon class, primarily consisting of licensed pop-culture characters; each of these is handled by exactly 90 people.


From 2005 to 2012, a third balloon class, the “Blue Sky Gallery,” transformed the works of contemporary artists into full-size balloons.


The route of the Parade is Central Park to Macy’s Herald Square,New York City, New York


The three-hour event “features floats, costumes and huge helium balloons in the shape of cartoon characters including Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat”, says the Daily Mirror.


8,000 people participate, 3.5 million people attend the event, 50 million people watch it on TV.


Snoopy, the beagle has made more appearances in the parade than any other licensed character. Since debuting in 1968, Snoopy has had seven balloons and made his 39th appearance in 2015.


Sixteen giant character balloons floated through Manhattan last year, three of which were new: DreamWork’s Trolls and new versions of Charlie Brown and Felix the Cat. The feline was the first licensed character to appear in the parade. “Felix started it all, and the character balloons are icons for the parade,” Kule says.


Macy’s introduced Felix the Cat and three other giant character balloons in 1927 after deciding to stop using live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo, such as lions, tigers, camels and elephants.


There are 26 floats. The largest float is Santa’s Sleigh at 60 ft long, 22 ft wide and 3.5 stories tall.


Macy’s does not disclose the price of floats. “Like any good gift, you cut off the price tag when you give it, so we keep to that tradition as well,” a Macy’s parade spokesman told NBC in 2013.


Three years ago, TIME reported that float construction for the Thanksgiving Day parade in Detroit can cost anywhere between $30,000 to $100,000, which does not include the price of admission.  The price tag is likely higher for America’s most famous parade.


Other traditional customs include watching American football and a ceremony at the White House in which the president is presented with a turkey to eat – although it has become the norm since George HW Bush’s time in office in the late 1980s for the animal to be officially “pardoned”.


Why turkey?

An animal indigenous to North America, the turkey became a potent icon during the War of Independence, with founding fathers including Benjamin Franklin arguing for it to replace the eagle as the national symbol.


Although the exact origins of the Thanksgiving turkey are not known there are several theories. Pilgrim Edward Winslow wrote a letter about that now-famous meal in 1621 which mentioned a turkey hunt before the dinner. Others trace the tradition back to Queen Elizabeth I who was so thrilled upon hearing that Spanish ships had sunk on their way to attack England she ordered another goose to be served. Some claim early US settlers than carried on the tradition of eating goose or turkey at times of celebration.


Although not regularly used in Thanksgiving dinners until the mid-1850s the cooking of turkeys has now become synonymous with the celebration and it is estimated that some 50% of the 270 million turkeys consumed in the US each year are eaten on that day.


Does anyone else celebrate it?

Canada has its own Thanksgiving tradition involving the pirate-explorer Martin Frobisher giving thanks in 1578 for a safe journey across the Atlantic after arriving in what is now Nova Scotia, on the East coast of Canada.


Celebrated on the second Monday in October, the official holiday got its start in the 19th century but has since become as much a way for Canadians “to celebrate their luck at not being American” as their own foundation myth says Time.


The British also have an equivalent called Harvest Day, celebrating the collection of a successful harvest. Although once widely celebrated with roots tracing back to a pre-Roman pagan Britain over the years it has lost much of symbolism.

Snoopy Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade


“Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” – Joshua J. Marine


Happiness is…being part of Macy’s New York, Thanksgiving Day Parade


There are two kinds of people who don’t say much: those who are quiet and those who talk a lot.


Love is…Christmas shopping together


You Make Me Feel Brand New – Stylistics

Highest chart position No.