Thanksgiving is a celebration of gratitude and harvest that dates back to 1621, when the Pilgrims and the Native Americans shared a feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The first Thanksgiving did not include turkey, cranberry sauce, or pumpkin pie, but likely featured venison, corn, fish, and wildfowl. Forks were not used, only spoons and knives.
The tradition of pardoning a turkey by the president started in 1947, but the first official pardon was given by George H.W. Bush in 1989. The spared turkeys are sent to farms or parks.
The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade began in 1924 and featured live animals from the Central Park Zoo. The first balloons appeared in 1927, inspired by a balloon float in London.
Thanksgiving is not only celebrated in the US, but also in Canada, Liberia, Grenada, and some Caribbean islands. Canada's Thanksgiving is in October, while Liberia's is in November.
Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year in the US, with about 50 million people traveling by car or plane. It is also the most popular day for online shopping, followed by Black Friday and Cyber Monday.