Thanksgiving Day 2014: This is why the US holiday has a Google Doodle today

The national holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November

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The Independent US

Google has celebrated Thanksgiving Day with a bouncing turkey Doodle on its US homepage.

The festive, cheery-looking bird replaces a letter “o” in Google, with the rest of the word spelled out in autumn leaves.

You might think a bird destined for the dinner table would have little to celebrate – but perhaps this one has been spared by President Barack Obama.

The presidential turkey pardon is a quirky annual tradition at Thanksgiving and this year saw a pair of turkeys named Mac and Cheese saved from the slaughterhouse.

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The 2008 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

The national holiday, which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, can be traced back to the pilgrims arriving in America during the 17th century. The festival was originally held to give thanks to God for a good harvest.

These days it is more often seen as a day on which to count one’s blessings – and is celebrated by Christians and non-Christians alike.

Families and friends come together for a special meal featuring turkey, roast potatoes, vegetables and pumpkin pie.

Most government offices, businesses, schools and other organisations are closed and many employees enjoy a long, four-day weekend.

Meanwhile, many cities celebrate with large-scale events including the famous Macy’s Parade in New York City.

 

However, Thanksgiving is not seen as something to celebrate by all people in the US. Hundreds of Native Americans will gather today at Cole’s Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to commemorate the National Day of Mourning.

This annual protest first began in 1970 and honours those who lost their lives when the European settlers arrived on the East Coast. It also serves to remind people of the challenges still facing Native Americans.

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