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Americans Face Crowded Airports as They Head Home for Thanksgiving

Holidays + Festivals

Millions of Americans face crowded airports as they head home - or on vacation -  for their second most important holiday of the year after Christmas. Is there a way around long lines and high fares?

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Delta Air Lines Boeing 717-299 taking off from Hartfield Atlanta International Airport. Photo Credit; redlegsfan21.

Thanksgiving is the second most important holiday of the year in the United States after Christmas. Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving falls on 24 November in 2016. The busiest travel days are expected to be Saturday 19 November and Sunday 27 November. So if you loathe crowds, you might want to avoid air travel on those two days.

Travelers wanting to avoid crowds – and save money! – should consider traveling on Thanksgiving Day itself. Passenger loads will be thin, and you might even get a reduced fare.

The reason is simple. Whoever wanted to get somewhere is probably already there. So stretch out and relax. 

Thanksgiving 101

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Turkey, dressing (or stuffing), mashed potatoes and gravy are the centerpiece of a traditional American Thanksgiving Day meal. Photo Credit: Alcinoe


The first Thanksgiving was held in 1621, when English pilgrims in what is now known as Plymouth, Massachusetts, held a feast to celebrate their first harvest in the New World with local Indians.

Thanksgiving has evolved into a family holiday. It is celebrated with family reunions with a large dinner, of which a roast or baked turkey is the centre of the meal.

The bird is stuffed with a bread based dressing or stuffing. Side dishes include mashed potatoes, giblet gravy, cranberry sauce, candied yams, green bean casserole, corn on the cob, and butternut squash.

Pumpkin pie is usually served for dessert.

Thanksgiving Day Parades

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Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York is the biggest and best parade in the United States. Photo Credit: Alcinoe.


Many cities in the United States hold Thanksgiving Day Parades. The largest and most elaborate parade is held in New York City.

There are numerous floats, marching bands, and giant balloons representing cartoon characters.

Santa Claus takes up the rear, signaling the official start of the Christmas shopping season.

New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is broadcast on national television.

American Football

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Detroit Lions host Green Bay Packers on Thanksgiving. Photo Credit: Dave Hogg.


High schools, colleges, and universities play football games on Thanksgiving itself or the following Friday, Saturday or Sunday. They are often called The Turkey Bowl.

The National Football League schedules three American football games on Thanksgiving each year. Two of them are hosted by the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. The third game has no fixed host.

In 2016, the Detroit Lions will host the Minnesota Viking, the Dallas Cowboys will host the Washington Redskins, and the Indianapolis Colts will host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Other traditions include …

  • The President of the United States “pardons” a turkey at the White House in Washington, DC.
  • Department stores hold sales on the day following Thanksgiving. Known as “Black Friday”, it is the busiest shopping day of the year.

And now the real "fun" begins. Deal with Christmas shopping crowds! Wake me up when it's over ...

 

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