The holiday is based on the tale about the original European settlers suffering hardship and being provided with a big dinner by the Native American Indians in 1621. Why the Indians would have been so kind to the Puritan immigrants is a mystery. They celebrate Thanksgiving incorporating some native dishes like wild rice.
As it turns out, we won't be getting together until Saturday this year. For the first time in many years, I'll have all four of my kids here, plus four grandkids and three great-grands. That's a total of sixteen people in my not-all-that-big unit.
Another tradition that has been added over the years is the President officially pardoning a live turkey in a ceremony at the White House. A turkey farm in Badger, Minnesota has been rearing a separate "presidential flock" to provide the official turkey to go to Washington. The final three candidates are all toms that have been groomed to be "calm and unflappable" and able to sit still. The winner will be presented to President Obama and pardoned from being Thanksgiving dinner. The plan is that it will then live out its life in a zoo or sanctuary.