Old Normal: Thanksgiving Tradition Returns to America | Business and Economy News

Americans attended parades, packed football stadiums and gathered more freely for family feasts on Thursday, grateful to re-celebrate Thanksgiving Day traditions when the pandemic kept many at home last year.

The holiday dates back to the early 17th century when pilgrims from Europe and Native Americans gathered to share the bounty of autumn—a celebration of goodwill before the ensuing massacre. Nowadays, the approach of the long holiday weekend usually ignites the travel frenzy as scattered families come together for a holiday meal.

With COVID-19 deaths and infections rising last year, many people shared a turkey dinner on Zoom. Now that vaccines have made the pandemic more manageable, according to the American Automobile Association, an estimated 53.4 million people were expected to travel for Thanksgiving, up 13 percent from 2020.

United States officials on Wednesday saw a vigorous return to air traffic, with 2.31 million people being screened at travel checkpoints, representing 88 percent of the volume screened on the same day in 2019. This was the highest checkpoint volume since the pandemic at 87,534 on April 13. 2020, Transportation Security Administration spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter.

President Joe Biden declared the nation “back”, calling in NBC television’s coverage of the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.

“My message is two years later, you’re back. America’s back,” Biden said before visiting a Coast Guard station in Nantucket, Massachusetts, to thank members of the military stationed around the world. Neither is it which we are unable to remove.”

Nonetheless, COVID-19 is still infecting 95,000 people a day. More than 780,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the US, according to official figures Reuters counts. But deaths are now measured in hundreds per day instead of thousands.

The midnight after Thanksgiving also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, offering a snapshot of the state of the US economy.

Retailers began promoting online holiday “deals” in early September this year as the ongoing supply chain standoff threatened to delay imported goods. But the bargain is modest, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index.

An occasion to count one’s blessings—usually at a turkey dinner with side dishes and desserts—Thanksgiving also signifies giving to the poor and hungry.

Like many organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank offered an annual free-food drive this year to allow anyone to pick up a free meal kit before the holiday.

Food bank marketing manager Victoria Laswath said the pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity in Los Angeles County. The organization and its affiliates now serve 900,000 people a day, more than triple the number they had before COVID-19, she said.

Thanksgiving “can be a very happy time of year for all of us in general. However, for our food-insecure neighbors it can bring a different kind of uncertainty,” Lasavat said.

With hospital intensive-care units no longer overflowing, restrictions on social gatherings have been eased. Fans pack Ford Field Stadium in Detroit for the first of three National Football League games on Thursday, part of a Thanksgiving tradition. Last year there were no fans in the stands.

Similarly, spectators returned to New York’s Thanksgiving Day parade after last year’s pageant was shortened and closed to the public.

The parade featured giant, helium balloons depicting characters such as Grogu, otherwise known as Baby Yoda from the Star Wars spinoff series The Mandalorian, and Ada, the young scientist from the Netflix series Ada Twist, Scientist.


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