Americans will pack football stadiums, flock for parades and gather more freely Thursday for family celebrations, thankful to celebrate Thanksgiving Day traditions again after the pandemic kept many at home last year .
The holiday dates back to the early 17th century, when pilgrims from Europe and Native Americans came together to share in the bounty of the fall, a celebration of goodwill before the coming genocide. These days, the approach of the long holiday weekend usually triggers a travel frenzy as dispersed families gather for holiday meals.
With COVID-19 deaths and infections soaring last year, many people have shared turkey dinners on Zoom. Now that vaccines have made the pandemic more manageable, an estimated 53.4 million people will travel on Thanksgiving, up 13% from 2020, according to the American Automobile Association. Air travel is expected to return to around 91% of pre-pandemic levels.
Travelers wait to pass a security checkpoint at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport ahead of the Thanksgiving vacation in Seattle, Washington on November 24, 2021.
Families are delighted to reunite several generations again.
“I love the craziness of cooking for a group of people and having all the fuss around the table, and everything that goes with it,” said Tanya Primiani, who will be hosting 12 people at her Silver Spring home, Maryland. . “There will be so much gratitude this year.”
Midnight after Thanksgiving also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, offering a glimpse into the state of the economy.
Retailers began promoting holiday “deals” online as early as September this year, as the ongoing supply chain threatened to delay imported goods. But the bargains are modest, with retailers slashing prices by 5 to 25 percent on Friday, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
An occasion to count its blessings, usually around a turkey dinner with mounds of side dishes and desserts, Thanksgiving also sparks a wave of donations for the poor and hungry.
Residents receive free groceries, including a turkey, distributed by La Colaborativa, which distributed food to 3,500 people during the day, ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday in Chelsea, Massachusetts on November 23, 2021.
Like many organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank offered an annual free food drive this year, allowing anyone in need to pick up a free meal kit before the holidays.
Victoria Lasavath, the food bank’s marketing director, said the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in Los Angeles County. The organization and its partners now serve 900,000 people a day, triple the number before COVID-19, she said.
Thanksgiving “can generally be a very happy time of year for all of us. However, for our food insecure neighbors it can bring another kind of uncertainty,” Lasavath said. Yet Americans are cautious with COVID-19, which infects 95,000 people a day. More than 777,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, according to official data from Reuters. But deaths are now measured in the hundreds a day instead of thousands.
With hospital intensive care units no longer overflowing, restrictions on social gatherings have eased. That means fans will fill three National Football League stadiums on Thursday, re-enacting a spectacle that is part of Thanksgiving tradition. Last year there were no fans in the stands.
Likewise, spectators will return to Macy’s 95th Annual Thanksgiving Parade in New York City after last year’s contest was downsized and closed to the public.
Onlookers react as they watch Macy’s 95th Thanksgiving Parade in Manhattan, New York on November 25, 2021.
Other cities host parades, but the New York event is televised nationwide, allowing some 50 million viewers to watch the oversized helium balloons depicting cartoon characters and toys, the most long measuring 22 meters (72 feet).
NYPD does not provide crowd estimates, but the Macy’s Parade is one of the city’s biggest annual events along with New Years Eve and the LGBTQ Pride Parade, whose boosters are clamoring for millions. spectators in person.
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