Origin of the word
The word thanksgiving dates back to the 1530s and is formed by combining the noun ‘thanks’ — taken from the Old English ‘þanc’ — meaning ‘grateful thought’, and the present participle of the verb ‘give’. This is from the Old English ‘giefan’ meaning ‘to bestow or grant’.
Thanksgiving is a noun that refers to both the act of expressing gratitude for good fortune (“The weary travellers cheered in thanksgiving when their flight finally departed.”) and the US holiday celebrated each November to commemorate the first harvest at Plymouth Colony in 1621, where pilgrim settlers shared a meal with the native Massasoit tribe who had helped them. A similar holiday takes place in Canada a month or so earlier.
Though expressions of thanksgiving have been observed across cultures for centuries, perhaps the most easily recognizable version is Thanksgiving Day celebrated in the US and Canada, which honours the bounty of the year’s harvest. Canada’s Thanksgiving celebrations are on the second Monday in October while its southern neighbour celebrates today, the fourth Thursday in November. Traditional Thanksgiving Day festivities include parades, American and Canadian professional football games, and families and friends gathering for a meal of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
For several years, Old Homestead Steakhouse, an iconic restaurant in the heart of New York City’s trendy Meatpacking District, has held the distinction of serving America’s most expensive Thanksgiving Day meal and this year’s offering — at $7,600 per person — is no exception.
Deep-pocketed diners can expect a holiday meal consisting of traditional favourites with an indulgent twist or two: roast turkey served alongside $225 per pound Japanese bacon, gravy flavoured with $3,300 Pappy Van Winkle bourbon, sweet potatoes garnished with $1,600 per ounce caviar, mashed potatoes with $455 per pound Swedish moose cheese, and an orange cranberry sauce infused with $60 per ounce aged balsamic vinegar.
Other dishes include king oysters at $100 each, $475 per pound Japanese Wagyu beef stuffing, foie gras, and a peppercorn sauce made with special reserve Louis XII cognac, which is priced at $4,800 per bottle.
This lavish meal is prepared annually for one lucky party of ten, for a total cost of approximately $76,000. However, that hefty price tag also includes additional perks like tickets to Hamilton, a 5th Avenue shopping spree, a limousine and guided city tour, private ballroom dance lessons, a two-night stay at a luxury hotel, a $20,000 Ulysse Nardin timepiece, and a carriage ride in Central Park.
1. an expression of thanks, often in the form of a prayer to God
2. an annual celebration when families gather to eat a special meal and give thanks for the things they are grateful for
View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.