Thanksgiving

In some states, the odds of having a Covid-positive guest at a ten-person dinner are as high as 80 percent.

Are Small Gatherings Driving Recent Covid-19 Surges? Policymakers and Scientists Are at Odds

Data suggests that universities, indoor dining and large parties may be the bigger culprits

Regular dust bathing keeps the wild turkey's iridescent feathers in top condition.

View Amazing Photos and Video of a Turkey Dust Bathing

A New York photographer captured stunning footage of this captivating behavior in her backyard

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Smithsonian Voices

Our Thanksgiving Menu Has Lost a Few Crops

Studying the domestication of any crop that people once ate helps scientists reveal how modern crops have evolved

This popular painting of "The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth" by Jennie A. Brownscombe is an example of how the myths of the holiday became engrained in Americana.

Why the Myths of Plymouth Dominate the American Imagination

A new book shows us a different picture of the English settlers who arrived at the lands of the Wampanoag

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Smithsonian Voices

Seven Native American Chefs Share Thanksgiving Recipes

These original Thanksgiving foods are far different from the modern celebrations, but tradition is never static

"Engaged philanthropy is vital to democracy," writes Smithsonian scholar Amanda B. Moniz, who studies the history of giving in America. Above: charity workers bring groceries to those isolating with symptoms of Covid-19.

The Storied History of Giving in America

Throughout American history, philanthropy has involved the offering of time, money and moral concern to benefit others, but it carries a complicated legacy

Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology designed a peer-reviewed tool to estimate the risk of attending an event with someone infected with the coronavirus that causes Covid-19.

Five Online Tools for Evaluating Covid-19 Risk Ahead of the Holidays

Of course, the safest option is holding events virtually and skipping in-person, indoor gatherings altogether this year

Canadians gathered around their dining room tables for Thanksgiving on October 12, and two weeks later, authorities reported a spike in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations.

Covid-19 Cases Surged After Canadian Thanksgiving in October. Will Americans Heed Their Northern Neighbor's Warning?

Two out of five Americans plan to gather in large groups for the holiday, raising public health concerns

Theresa Secord (Penobscot, b. 1958). Ear of corn basket, 2003. Maine. 26/1694. By looking at Thanksgiving in the context of living cultures, we can make the holiday a more meaningful part of teaching and learning, in school and at home.

Smithsonian Voices

Five Ideas to Change the Way Thanksgiving Is Taught in Classrooms and at Home

Students can use Thanksgiving and their new tools for thinking about culture to learn and share more about their own family’s history and traditions

Farms have been processing their heritage turkeys earlier to keep them small.

Turkey Farmers Scramble to Meet Need for Smaller Thanksgiving Birds

They’ll just be thankful when the year is over

A new form of entertainment and a wandering trainload of frozen turkey triggered a convenience food boom.

A Brief History of the TV Dinner

Thanksgiving’s most unexpected legacy is heating up again

First Lady Grace Coolidge and Rebecca, the raccoon she and her family kept as a pet

Raccoon Was Once a Thanksgiving Feast Fit for a President

Calvin Coolidge refused to cook the raccoon sent to him, but the critter was a beloved staple for many Americans

Food, Glorious Food

Food, Glorious Food

Smithsonian magazine's coverage of food, drink and their role in our culture

The Patents Behind Pumpkin Pie

This Thanksgiving, when you take a bite of the traditional pie, take a moment to think about the inventions that have gone into the making of it

It took thousands of years, but the pumpkin went from one squash among many to American icon.

How the Formerly Ubiquitous Pumpkin Became a Thanksgiving Treat

The history of Cucurbita pepo has a surprising connection to the abolitionist cause

Dorcas Reilly preparing her famous green bean casserole at the Campbell Soup corporate kitchen in 2005.

The Woman Who Invented the Green Bean Casserole

Dorcas Reilly came up with the iconic American dish in the 1950s

Thanksgiving tells the story of a landmark moment of coexistence, multiculturalism and even neighborliness (above: The First Thanksgiving, 1621, Jean Leon G. Ferris) when Native Americans taught Pilgrims to farm, and shared a meal with them after a successful harvest in 1621.

How an Unremarkable 'Brunch in the Forest' Turned Into the Thanksgiving We Know

A new Sidedoor podcast dives into the holiday's origins

Gourds come in all shapes and sizes—some sweet and delicious, some stiff and bitter, and some that are just plain odd.

Halloween

The Science Behind Decorative Gourd Season

Gourds are the runts of their family of fruits, too tough and bitter to eat, but they remain one of the most popular crops of fall

Virginians may have celebrated early Thanksgivings with wild turkey, like this one. Other historical accounts say the first Thanksgiving was scraped together from ship rations, oysters, and ham.

The Pilgrims Weren't the First to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Virginia has a claim to an earlier Christian Thanksgiving celebration

Thanksgiving in the 19th century was less Norman Rockwell, more Mardi Gras.

The First Thanksgiving Parades Were Riots

The Fantastics parades were occasions of sometimes-violent revelry