Americans gathered for parades, filled football stadiums, and gathered more freely for family celebrations on Thursday in gratitude for Thanksgiving traditions again after the pandemic was held at home by many last year.
The holiday dates back to the early 17th century, when pilgrims from Europe and Indians gathered to share the fall premium – a celebration of good will before the coming genocide. Today, the approach of a long holiday weekend typically evokes the chills of traveling when scattered families gather for holiday meals.
As COVID-19 deaths and infections increased last year, many people shared turkey dinners through Zoom. Now that vaccines have made the pandemic more manageable, an estimated 53.4 million people were expected to travel on Thanksgiving, up 13 percent from 2020, according to the American Automobile Association.
Air traffic recovered sharply, with U.S. police screening 2.31 million people at voyage checkpoints on Wednesday, 88 percent of the checkpoints inspected the same day in 2019. It was the highest number of checkpoints since the pandemic’s lowest of 87,534 checkpoints on 13 April. 2020, Lisa Farbstein, a spokeswoman for the Transportation Security Administration, wrote on Twitter.
President Joe Biden declared the country “back” by calling NBC television from New York’s 95th Macy Thanksgiving Parade.
“My message is two years from now, you’re back. America is back,” Biden said before his visit to the Coast Guard station in Nantucket, Massachusetts, to thank members of the military around the world. “There’s nothing we can’t win.”
Nevertheless, COVID-19 still infects 95,000 people a day. More than 780,000 people have died in COVID-19 in the United States, according to official Reuters. But deaths are now measured in hundreds a day instead of thousands.
The midnight after Thanksgiving also marks the unofficial start to the Christmas shopping season and provides a snapshot of the state of the U.S. economy.
Retailers began advertising online holiday deals as early as September this year as a continuing stalemate in the supply chain threatened to delay imported goods. But the offers are modest, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.
Being able to count your own blessings – typically during a turkey dinner with side dishes and desserts – Thanksgiving also generates donations for the poor and hungry.
Like many organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank this year offered an annual free food ride that allows anyone who needs it to pick up a free meal package before the holidays.
Food Bank Marketing Manager Victoria Lasavath said the pandemic exacerbated food safety in Los Angeles County. The organization and its partners now serve 900,000 people a day, which is three times the number before COVID-19, he said.
Thanksgiving “can typically be a very happy time of year for all of us. However, for our food insecure neighbors, it can cause a different kind of uncertainty,” Lasavath said.
When the hospital’s intensive care units are no longer full, restrictions on social gatherings have eased. Fans filled Ford Field Stadium in Detroit for the first of three National Football League matches on Thursday, restoring a spectacle that is part of Thanksgiving tradition. There were no fans in the auditorium last year.
Similarly, viewers returned to New York’s Thanksgiving parade after last year’s play was shrunk and closed to the public.
The parade featured giant helium balloons depicting characters such as Grogua, also known from Baby Yodana’s Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian, and Ada, a young scientist in the Netflix series Ada Twist, Scientist.