Americans flocked for parades, packed football stadiums and gathered more freely for family celebrations Thursday, grateful to celebrate Thanksgiving Day traditions again after the pandemic kept many at home. last year.
The holiday dates back to the early 17th century, when pilgrims from Europe and Native Americans came together to share in the bounty of fall – a celebration of goodwill before the coming genocide. These days, the approach of the long holiday weekend usually triggers a travel frenzy as dispersed families gather for holiday meals.
With COVID-19 deaths and infections soaring last year, many people have shared turkey dinners on Zoom. Now that vaccines have made the pandemic more manageable, an estimated 53.4 million people are expected to travel on Thanksgiving, up 13% from 2020, according to the American Automobile Association.
Air traffic rebounded strongly, with US agents screening 2.31 million people at travel checkpoints on Wednesday, representing 88% of the volume checked on the same day in 2019. This was the volume at checkpoints on Wednesday. highest since the pandemic low of 87,534 set on April 13. 2020, Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter.
President Joe Biden said the country was “back,” phoning NBC television’s coverage of Macy’s 95th Thanksgiving Parade in New York City.
“My message is after two years, you are back. America is back, ”Biden said before walking to a coast guard station in Nantucket, Massachusetts, to thank members of the military stationed around the world. “There is nothing we cannot overcome. “
Nonetheless, COVID-19 still infects 95,000 people per day. More than 780,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States, according to official data from Reuters. But deaths are now measured in the hundreds a day instead of thousands.
Midnight after Thanksgiving also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, offering a glimpse into the state of the US economy.
Retailers began promoting holiday “deals” online as early as September this year, as supply chain bottlenecks threatened to delay imported goods. But the bargains are small, according to Adobe’s Digital Economy Index.
An occasion to count his blessings – usually around a turkey dinner with mounds of side dishes and desserts – Thanksgiving also sparks a wave of donations for the poor and hungry.
Like many organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank offered an annual free food drive this year, allowing anyone in need to pick up a free meal kit before the holidays.
Victoria Lasavath, the food bank’s marketing director, said the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in Los Angeles County. The organization and its partners now serve 900,000 people a day, triple the number before COVID-19, she said.
Thanksgiving “can generally be a very happy time of year for all of us. However, for our food insecure neighbors, this can lead to another kind of uncertainty, ”said Lasavath.
With hospital intensive care units no longer overflowing, restrictions on social gatherings have eased. Fans packed Ford Field in Detroit for the first of three National Football League games on Thursday, re-enacting a spectacle that is part of Thanksgiving tradition. Last year there were no fans in the stands.
Likewise, spectators returned to New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade after last year’s contest was downsized and closed to the public.
The parade featured giant helium balloons featuring characters such as Grogu, also known as Baby Yoda from the Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian, and Ada, the young scientist from the Netflix series Ada Twist, Scientist.