Thanksgiving: What is Turkey Day and the history behind it?

In 1621, a group of English separatists and Native Americans shared a meal near Plymouth Rock, establishing the Thanksgiving tradition that is celebrated across the US today.  But now, the holiday is more about sport and socialising – and an American author and her English daughter explain why

Jenny Marc
Monday 23 November 2015 11:22 GMT
Thanksgiving explainer: What is Turkey Day and why do Americans celebrate it?

American Thanksgiving can be explained in three words: family, food and football (the US version, that is).

But while the holiday is distinctly American today, Turkey Day has partially English origins.

“If it weren’t for the harvest home tradition from England, maybe it wouldn’t have occurred to the pilgrims to celebrate the first Thanksgiving,” explains American writer Erin Moore. “So I think Thanksgiving owes quite a bit to an English tradition.”

Moore, author of That’s Not English, a book that examines the cultural differences between Brits and Americans, gives an overview of the holiday’s history with a little help from her five-year-old daughter.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in