The Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth, in the state that’s now known as Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s. People now celebrate the holiday by giving thanks for their blessings over the past year, as well as feasting on turkey and other festive goodies.
Thanksgiving Day is November 24th, and most people will be enjoying time with their friends and families, including some of your favorite country stars, such as Alan Jackson, Darius Rucker, Keith Urban, Dierks Bentley, Lady Antebellum, Eric Church, Eric Paslay and more. They give us their thoughts, memories and favorite Thanksgiving dishes.
AUDIO: Alan Jackson talks about his favorite Thanksgiving dish.
AJ (Thanksgiving) OC: …enjoy it. :19
“My favorite Thanksgiving dish would be the homemade dressin’ that we, cornbread-based kind of dressin’ that we always have with turkey. That recipe is a kind of a combination of my mama, and Denise has taken it and perfected it over the years, so that me and my children really enjoy it.”
AUDIO: Darius Rucker says he’s thankful for his family.
Darius Rucker (Thanksgiving) OC: …still alive. :17
“Oh, the main thing I’m thankful for is my family, there’s no doubt about that. Thanksgiving is about family for us. If we’re in Jersey, getting together with family. If we’re in Charleston, getting together with family and just cooking and eating. Sitting around and talking and remembering and being thankful for where we are, you know. We’re all still alive.”
AUDIO: Dierks Bentley has a lot to be thankful for, including his two daughters – Evie (rhymes with Chevy) and Jordan, who was born on Christmas Day. Here he gives us the extent of what he’s thankful for this year:
Dierks Bentley (Thankful for) OC: …appreciative of. :45
“Coming off the Miles & Music event this year in Nashville and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and knowing how many families are going through tough times with health of their children. That’s the number-one blessing when you have kids is that they’re healthy. Even when they have a mild cold, it’s like, ‘Aww, man. I feel so bad for them.’ I can’t imagine what those folks at Vanderbilt and St. Jude and all of those children’s hospitals across the country, what they’re going through on Thanksgiving. I’m sure they’re just happy to be together, and that’d be the same thing for me—just to be with my family and thankful for the blessings that I have. And the second thing we will pray for is the troops and their families, the ones that are away from their families at Thanksgiving, the ones that are out there fighting on Thanksgiving Day so we can be back here and have that quality time, have that quiet time is definitely something we’re so appreciative of.”
AUDIO: Dierks Bentley talks about his Thanksgiving must-have! It’s an oldie, but a goodie!
Dierks Bentley (Thanksgiving must-have) OC: …for Thanksgiving. :4
“You gotta have a big turkey. Thanksgiving is not possible without a turkey. My dad’s always been the one to cook and carve it, but in years here recently, I’ve been taking over those duties. Big responsibility. We cook it traditionally, but when we’re in, a co8uple of Thanksgivings ago, we were here in Nashville, we did the whole fry the turkey up, and it was great. It just tasted so good; all those juices get locked in there, and I love that too. You really can’t, to me, cook a turkey wrong. I’m gonna eat it any way, and I have over the years. Trust me, I’ve played a lot of county and state fairs, where I’ve seen gigantic turkey legs, you know, I’ve had the flat meat. I’ve done turkey every way you could do it. I’m pretty good any way you want to cook it up, but you’ve got to have a turkey for Thanksgiving.”
AUDIO: Eric Church says he’s thankful for his family – including new son, Boone – as well as for his fans, who made this year his most successful yet.
Eric Church (Thanksgiving) OC: …want to do it. :38
“A couple of things. I’m thankful for my family, my son, my wife and great health. And I’m thankful for from a career standpoint, I’m very thankful for the success we’ve had lately. I’m thankful for Chief, I’m thankful for what the fans have done. I’m thankful that we’re starting to have some hit songs on the radio, I mean there’s a lot of stuff to be thankful for in that regard. And I’m thankful that I was given the opportunity to do it my own because I’m just not a guy, you know if we were having this success and I wasn’t able to do it my own, it wouldn’t be the same for me. I’m not one of those people that could keep doing that. Some people can, I can’t. I’d bail. So, I’m thankful that I’m going to get to keep doing this and do it the way that I want to do it.”
AUDIO: Eric Paslay loves him some turkey for Thanksgiving.
Eric Paslay (Turkey) OC: …really does. :09
“My favorite Thanksgiving food, I think, is the tryptophan turkey, ‘cause it really puts me to sleep. No [yawn], it really does.”
AUDIO: Eric Paslay talks about his favorite Thanksgiving memories.
Eric Paslay (Thanksgiving) OC: …too much. :05
“My best Thanksgiving memory, I think, is just hanging out with family, watching football and eating too much!”
AUDIO: Keith Urban gives thanks for many things, including his wife and two daughters.
Keith (Thanksgiving) OC: …for me. :21
“Thankful that, well, my marriage is just, it’s life-giving, not just life-changing, it’s been life-giving for me. And from there, we created life, and that’s just beautiful, absolutely beautiful. And the effect that all of that has had in my work, has given life to it too, given it a sense of purpose and really deepened the experience for me.”
AUDIO: Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley talks about his family’s Thanksgiving traditions.
Lady A (Charles-Thanksgiving traditions) OC: …with my brothers. :17
“Thanksgiving is a really big holiday for my family. We always have about 60 of our closet family and friends up in the North Georgia mountains for kind of a yearly, big Thanksgiving extravaganza. We have about everything under the sun to eat, and I usually have an eating contest with my brothers.”
AUDIO: Lady Antebellum Dave Haywood says the whole band is thankful for their families.
Lady Antebellum (Dave-Thankful) OC: …with ‘em. :13
“I think all of us are definitely most thankful for our families. They have been a huge support of our career ever since we started, and Thanksgiving is a great time to be with them. We travel so much, and we always try to make sure we take off the Thanksgiving holiday so we can be home with them.”
AUDIO: Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott describes her favorite Thanksgiving dish.
Lady A (Hillary-Thanksgiving food) OC: …ever tasted. :12
“So, my favorite Thanksgiving food would have to be my grandmother’s sweet potato casserole. There’s just something she puts in it — probably all the love – that makes it better than anything I’ve ever tasted.”