About three million people took to the streets in New York to follow the traditional Thanksgiving parade organized by Macy’s. Giant balloons, floats and bands covered a four-kilometer route in Manhattan that started on the Upper West Side, an upscale area next to Central Park, and ended in front of Macy’s itself, in the most central area of the city.
The City of New York established several points of concentration around the city for those who went to watch the parade. In the crowd, full of families with children, the variety of accents and languages showed that many people came from far away to see the parade. And the audience followed every moment carefully: when one of the most anticipated balloons, the SpongeBob balloon, stopped for no apparent reason and stayed five minutes against one of the huge buildings on Sixth Avenue, the atmosphere of distress was general. Five minutes later, when the inflatable version of the sea sponge floated across the sky again, the crowd cheered with cheers and round of applause.
The concern has its reason: over the years, the parade has recorded incidents in which balloons ended up punctured, torn and lost air in the very middle of the show. The episodes led to readaptations so that the balloons remained firm and strong until the end of the journey. This year, the weather helped, as there were no strong winds at the time of the parade.
The weather also contributed to holiday travel. As it didn’t rain between Wednesday and Thursday, it was easier to get on the road, and planes could land and take off smoothly across the country, without the air chaos that many feared. According to the TSA, the agency responsible for airport security, more than two and a half million people traveled by plane on Wednesday, the eve of Thanksgiving Day.
The first known Thanksgiving celebration was in 1621, when the then governor of Massachusetts, William Bradford, decided to plan a big party to thank for a period of abundant harvest. The custom of gathering the family every year at the same time to give thanks for the harvest became a tradition, and the date ended up becoming a national holiday. In 1941, the US Congress decided that Thanksgiving Day would officially be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, as a national holiday.
Today, Americans across the country continue to gather their families each year on this date for a special dinner. Before the meal, each person sitting at the table usually cites reasons why they are grateful for the past year, as a kind of gratitude retrospective. The new generations keep the custom alive by traveling to meet family members or get together with friends, in the increasingly popular “Friendsgiving”.
Source: CNN Brasil
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