Thanksgiving Day: From the Farm to Your Table

Nov 20, 2013 1:45 PM ET
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When Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, the celebrations can range from the more serious, such as celebrating the peace between the Pilgrims and Native American Indians and the harvest that brought an abundance of food, to the not-so-serious, such as watching football and planning a roadmap of the shops to visit on Black Friday.

But at its core, the American Thanksgiving is a harvest-time celebration, and many parts of the world hold similar festivities. These harvest holidays can have both historical and spiritual roots, but the common themes for these harvest festivals are being thankful for good harvests, hoping for prosperity and celebrating the agriculture of their culture.

For example, in Korea, Chu Suk includes a festival dedicated to thanking ancestors for their harvest and features rice cake and special foods during the three-day celebration. In Southern India, Pongal, carrying the name of one of its traditional dishes, is a four-day festival marking the end of harvest, while Northern and Eastern India host their own harvest traditions.

The food that appears on today’s Thanksgiving Day table in the United States may not be a perfect replica of the first Thanksgiving, but the improvements in agriculture have made it possible for farmers to keep up with the demands of the growing population to produce a similar feast.

Scroll over the food on the table here to learn some fun facts about the crops that may make an appearance on your family’s Thanksgiving table this holiday season.

Billy Brennan