Thanksgiving Day Parade
Cheerleaders make their way down 6th Ave during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New YorkReuters

Americans celebrated Thanksgiving Day Thursday with parades and festivities amid the gloom caused by Superstorm Sandy a few weeks ago, which took away many lives and damaged hundreds of houses.

The victims of the deadly storm too joined in the celebrations at the East Coast emergency shelters to express their gratitude for what is still left after the devastation.


Thanksgiving Day is primarily celebrated in the United States and Canada to give thanks for good things they are blessed with.

"We're trying to do it Pilgrim style," Louis DeCarolis, 51, who was roasting a turkey in a fire pit marked by an American flag and dug into the front yard of his son's home in Rockaway Beach, Queens, told Reuters.

DeCarolis, whose basement apartment was destroyed by Sandy, added that he was planning to give it to a homebound neighbour and her disabled child. "I'd rather give it to them. We have a lot to be thankful for - we didn't lose any loved ones," he said.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city, in partnership with local community organizations and businesses, was providing 26,500 Thanksgiving meals for people hardest hit by the storm. About 2,000 of those meals were being served under a white tent organized by the city outside St. Frances de Sales Parish in Belle Harbor, which was dishing out another 500 meals inside the church, reported Reuters.

Rock star Patti Smith performed at a tent shelter with the crowd singing along with her.

New York City celebrated the day with people thronging the streets to witness the 86th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. About 5,000 seats were reserved for the people affected by Sandy.

The parade, which typically draws 3.5 million spectators and 50 million television viewers, also featured 28 floats, 11 marching bands, thousands of cheerleaders and dancers as well as Santa Claus. Celebrity performers included Whoopi Goldberg, Carly Rae Jepsen and the Muppets, reported Reuters.

Superstorm Sandy, that hit the East Coast of the United States on October 29, killed 132 people in the U.S. and Canada and damaged hundreds of houses.