What is Thanksgiving Day: History, Celebrations
What is Thanksgiving Day?
Thanksgiving is an annual national holiday in the United States and Canada celebrating the harvest and other blessings of the past year, according to Britannica.
Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in America every year on the fourth Thursday in November. In 2019, it's taking place on Thursday 28 November. Many people use it as a day to reflect on the positive things in life and spend time with their families.
Nearly everyone gets one or two days off school or work, and it marks the beginning of the Christmas holiday season, according to BBC.
What Day Is Thanksgiving This Year?
Well, this year, the month of November begins on a Sunday, which means the fourth Thursday of the month falls on Nov. 26. So Thanksgiving is on November 26, 2020. As it turns out, there's a reason why Thanksgiving is so late this year—and it's based in the history of Thanksgiving. In fact, the story dates all the way back to 1939 when Franklin Roosevelt decided to shake up the tradition a bit in the name of capitalism.
Thanksgiving had been celebrated on the last Thursday of the month since the time of Abraham Lincoln. During 1939, the calendar had been unusual, as the month started on a Wednesday, so there were five Thursdays as opposed to four.
What's the history of Thanksgiving?
|Thanksgving Day. Photo: BBC
Thanksgiving Day goes back to the time when Europeans travelled over to start new lives in America.
In 1621 a group of Europeans, who became known as the 'Pilgrims', invited the local Native Americans to join them in a feast.
The Pilgrims had had trouble growing enough food to eat in the years before. The Native Americans had taught the Pilgrims how to grow crops successfully and, to thank them for this, the Pilgrims invited them to a big feast.
How do people celebrate Thanksgiving?
Most people have a big meal with all their family where they eat a massive Turkey - this has become a tradition because it's thought that the Pilgrims probably ate turkey around the time of the first Thanksgiving feast.
But if turkey's not your thing, there are lots of other events to celebrate Thanksgiving. There's a famous parade through New York City, lots of American football matches on the TV and the American president even stops one turkey every year from becoming Thanksgiving dinner.
|Thanksgiving Day in the United States
Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after is also known as Black Friday.
Thanksgiving Day is a day for people in the US to give thanks for what they have. Families and friends get together for a meal, which traditionally includes a roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie.
In some cities and towns, there are parades during the Thanksgiving weekend. In most areas, these festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season.
Long Weekend in More Than 20 States
The Day After Thanksgiving, also know as Black Friday, is a holiday in more than 20 states. It's common to take trips and visit family and friends during the long weekend.
Many Have the Day Off
Most government offices, businesses, schools, universities, colleges, and other organizations are closed on Thanksgiving Day. Many offices and businesses allow staff to have a long four-day weekend for Thanksgiving, so these offices and businesses are also closed on the Day after Thanksgiving Day. Public transit systems usually do not operate on their regular timetables.
Thanksgiving Day is one of the busiest periods for travel in the USA. This can cause congestion and overcrowding. Seasonal parades and busy football games can also cause disruption to local traffic.
US Holiday Since 1863
Thanksgiving Day has been an annual holiday in the United States since 1863. However, not everyone sees Thanksgiving Day as a cause for celebration.
Beginning in 1970, a group of Native Americans and their supporters have staged an annual protest for a National Day of Mourning at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts on Thanksgiving Day. American Indian Heritage Day is also observed at this time of the year.
There are claims that the first Thanksgiving Day was held in the city of El Paso, Texas, in 1598. Another early event was held in 1619 in the Virginia Colony. Many people trace the origins of the modern Thanksgiving Day to the harvest celebration the Pilgrims held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. However, their first true thanksgiving was in 1623, when they gave thanks for rain that ended a drought. These early thanksgivings took the form of a special church service, rather than a feast.
In the second half of the 1600s, thanksgivings after the harvest became more common and started to become annual events. However, they were celebrated on different days in different communities and in some places there were more than one thanksgiving each year. George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789.