THE annual American celebration of Thanksgiving might have begun as a literal “giving of thanks” to Native American Indians who helped the first English colony settle into the New World in 1621 but it’s certainly moved a long way away from its origins.
Nowadays, it’s marked on the fourth Thursday in November and known more for overindulgent, stupor-inducing turkey lunches, American football and, of course, the Macy’s parade in New York City.
The now huge affair that requires almost a year of preparation began in 1924 as a small parade organised by the department store’s employees featuring animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo. It was such a success – half a million people watched, and this was in the days before TV advertising! – that Macy’s made it an annual affair.
The first giant inflated figure was introduced in 1927; Felix the cartoon cat was the popular culture character chosen for the honour. Originally filled with air, the balloons are now filled with helium for safety reasons.
The parade was televised for the first time in 1946 and became a national broadcast in 1947. Nowadays, 3.5 million people flock to the streets of Manhattan to see the parade in person and 50 million people watch it on television.
celebrities are traditionally invited to ride on parade floats, though it’s anyone’s guess who will appear each year. among the celebs this year was Miss america nina davuluri (right) and ... rock bank the Goo Goo dolls (below)? How do you make the cut to get invited onto a float? We have no idea....