Americans flocked to parades, packed football stadiums and gathered more freely for family feasts on Thursday, grateful to celebrate Thanksgiving Day traditions again after the pandemic kept many at home last year.
The holiday dates to the early 17th century, when Pilgrims from Europe and Native Americans gathered to share the autumn bounty – a celebration of goodwill before the genocide that was to come. Nowadays, the approach of the long holiday weekend typically ignites a frenzy of travel as scattered families come together for holiday meals.
With COVID-19 deaths and infections soaring last year, many people shared turkey dinners over Zoom. Now that vaccines have made the pandemic more manageable, an estimated 53.4 million people were expected to travel for Thanksgiving, up 13% from 2020, according to the American Automobile Association.
Air traffic rebounded strongly, with U.S. officers screening 2.31 million people at travel checkpoints on Wednesday, representing 88% of the volume screened on the same day in 2019. It was the highest checkpoint volume since the pandemic low of 87,534 set on April 13, 2020, Transportation Security Administration spokesperson Lisa Farbstein wrote on Twitter.
President Joe Biden declared the country was “back,” phoning into NBC television’s coverage of the 95th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City.
“My message is after two years, 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. “There’s nothing we’re unable to overcome.”
Nonetheless, COVID-19 is still infecting 95,000 people a day. More than 780,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the United States, according to a Reuters count of official data. But deaths are now measured in the hundreds per day instead of the thousands.
Midnight after Thanksgiving also marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season, offering a snapshot of the state of the American economy.
Retailers started promoting online holiday “deals” as early as September https://www.reuters.com/world/the-great-reboot/amid-supply-chain-snarls-retailers-pitch-early-holiday-shopping-2021-10-01 this year because the ongoing supply chain logjam https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/global-supply-chain-logjams-costs-focus-restaurant-chains-report-earnings-2021-10-26 threatened to delay imported merchandise. But bargains are modest, according to Adobe Digital Economy Index.
An occasion to count one’s blessings, typically over a turkey dinner with mounds of side dishes and desserts, Thanksgiving also prompts an outpouring of donations to the poor and hungry.
Like many organizations, the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank offered an annual free food drive this year, allowing anyone in need to pick up a free meal kit ahead of the holiday.
Victoria Lasavath, the food bank marketing manager, said the pandemic exacerbated food insecurity in Los Angeles County. The organization and its partners now serve 900,000 people a day, triple the number from before COVID-19, she said.
Thanksgiving “can typically be a very joyous time of the year for us all. However, for our food-insecure neighbors it may bring about a different type of uncertainty,” Lasavath said.
With hospital intensive-care units no longer overflowing, restrictions on social gatherings have eased. Fans packed Ford Field stadium in Detroit for the first of three National Football League games on Thursday, restoring a spectacle that is part of the Thanksgiving tradition. Last year there were no fans in the stands.
Likewise, spectators returned to New York’s Thanksgiving Day Parade https://www.reuters.com/world/us/in-person-spectators-return-new-yorks-thanksgiving-parade-2021-11-25 after last year’s pageant was scaled down 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.”
(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Additional reporting by Nandita Bose, Chris Gallagher, Richa Naidu and Arriana Mclymore; Editing by David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis)
Designer Virgil Abloh remembered at Fashion Awards
Designers and celebrities paid tribute to Virgil Abloh at the Fashion Awards in London on Monday, where the late Louis Vuitton and Off-White creative force was honoured as a leader of change within the industry.
Abloh, the American-born son of Ghanaian immigrants, who became fashion’s highest-profile Black designer, died on Sunday https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/louis-vuitton-designer-virgil-abloh-dies-2021-11-28 following a two-year battle with a rare form of cancer.
The 41-year-old, who also worked as a DJ and visual artist, had been menswear artistic director at luxury label Louis Vuitton since March 2018.
“Genius, disruptor … (he) will be missed tremendously by all,” veteran designer Tommy Hilfiger said on the red carpet. “He inspired designers as well as the public.”
Designer and television personality Tan France called Abloh “incredible and a visionary … (who) has done the most beautiful work.”
Abloh, who founded label Off-White, was known for mixing streetwear with high-end suits and gowns while at Vuitton. His influences included graffiti art and hip hop.
“Everyone here is going to be talking about Virgil, everyone here has been impacted by his brilliance,” actor Gabrielle Union said.
At the awards, where Abloh’s photo was projected on stage, the designer was among 15 individuals and brands named leaders of change for their actions in the past year helping the environment, people and creativity.
Others on the list included Balenciaga designer Demna Gvasalia, Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele, and Kim Jones, artistic director for Fendi womenswear and couture as well as menswear designer at Dior. Jones was also named designer of the year at the awards.
Michele also won the trailblazer award, while Hilfiger received the outstanding achievement award.
“I’m absolutely grateful, appreciative, humbled by it, but happy to be here and happy to still keep the business rolling,” Hilfiger, 70, said.
Demi Moore, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Dua Lipa were among the celebrity guests attending the event, a fundraiser for British Fashion Council charities.
(Reporting by Hanna Rantala and Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Karishma Singh)
Bank of Canada to work with Indigenous groups on reconciliation
The Bank of Canada will work with Indigenous groups to understand the wounds caused by decades of discrimination and determine how reconciliation can create a more inclusive and prosperous economy for all, Governor Tiff Macklem said on Monday.
Macklem, opening a symposium on Indigenous economies, said Canadians could work to correct some of the consequences of those “ugly periods.”
Ottawa forcibly removed thousands of Indigenous children from their communities and put them in residential schools in an effort to strip them of their language and culture, a practice that continues to scar families and individuals.
“The Bank of Canada will be working with a broad spectrum of Indigenous groups to set out what reconciliation means for what we do,” Macklem said.
“Together, we’ll define what reconciliation means for the work of the Bank of Canada — toward a more inclusive and prosperous economy for everyone,” he said.
Canada‘s Truth and Reconciliation Commission called the residential school system “cultural genocide” in 2015, as it set out 94 “calls to action” to try to restore Canada‘s relationship with its Indigenous people, including economic reconciliation.
“We can’t go back and change what’s happened. But we can try to correct some of the consequences,” said Macklem, adding that it is the central bank’s job to create conditions for opportunity for all Canadians.
“Taking concrete steps toward economic reconciliation is our responsibility too. And it’s incumbent upon us to take the time to do this well,” said Macklem.
(Reporting by Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Dan Grebler)
Canada’s Trans Mountain still ‘days away’ from restarting pipeline
Canada‘s Trans Mountain said on Monday it was “still days away” from restarting the key oil pipeline at a reduced capacity as heavy rains continue to impede restoration efforts.
The pipeline, owned by the Canadian government, ships 300,000 barrels a day of crude and refined products from Alberta to the Pacific Coast. It was temporarily shut down as heavy rains and flooding caused widespread disruption in parts of British Columbia.
The operator said assessments of the impacts from the latest storm are being undertaken with a focus on the Coldwater and Coquihalla regions.
Work was interrupted at some sites on Sunday due to high water accumulation or lack of access, the company added.
The company on Friday had said it was working toward restarting the oil pipeline at a reduced capacity this week.
(Reporting by Rithika Krishna in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel and Krishna Chandra Eluri)
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