Thanksgiving Day in United States


What is Thanksgiving?

In America, a recognized national holiday, Thanksgiving, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year. No other nonsectarian festival has more traditions than Thanksgiving! 

The celebration of Thanksgiving honors the harvest and other bounties of the previous year. The widespread consensus among Americans is that a harvest feast-inspired Thanksgiving that the Wampanoag and English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth shared in 1621.

Many colonies and states observed the Days of Thanksgiving for more than 200 years. President Abraham Lincoln didn't officially establish a national Thanksgiving Day until 1863, amid the Civil War

After Abraham Lincoln's 1863 Thanksgiving Proclamation, it became a national holiday.

Thanksgiving, a unique and joyful holiday without a well-established gift-giving component, has come to be associated with family, friends, and food. The day encourages all of us to express gratitude for the possessions we already have!

Thanksgiving - All Quick Overview

  • Time / Date: Fourth Thursday in November.
  • Category: Federal  
  • Where It’s Marked: United States of America
  • Why It’s Marked: The holiday of Thanksgiving is a time to give thanks for the bountiful harvest and other benefits received over the last year.

 History Of Thanksgiving

The history of Thanksgiving goes way back. Late in the 1500s, associated with the Pilgrims! Sounds interesting? Let's dig into the history of Thanksgiving, 

History says Thanksgiving was observed in what is now Florida and New Mexico by Spanish explorers and colonists in the late 1500s. Thanksgiving feasts were also celebrated in what would become the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1607. Jamestown, the area's first permanent settlement, held a Thanksgiving feast in 1610. The story then continues chronologically. 

The First American Thanksgiving 

Remember how we left an easter egg at the beginning of the Thanksgiving story associated with the Pilgrims? Here's how it goes! 

It took ten years until the Pilgrims, often known as Plymouth settlers, arrived in the New World. They held three days of celebrations in Plymouth following their first harvest in 1621. The four adult female Pilgrims who had made it through their first winter in the New World were preparing the feast with their young daughters and other enslaved people. 

Throughout the war, the Continental Congress set aside one or more days of Thanksgiving each year and urged the governors of the several states to mark these days in their respective areas. During the winter of 1777, President George Washington declared a Thanksgiving holiday to celebrate the British victory at Saratoga.

Thanksgiving in the Era of Revolution and Civil War

President Lincoln designated Thanksgiving Day a public holiday on November 26, 1863, the final Thursday of the month. According to a proclamation written by Secretary of State William H. Seward, aside from the battlefield, peace and harmony have been maintained with all nations, the order has been kept, the rules have been obeyed, and there has been no disorder or discord.

Even though the country is in the midst of a civil war, the likes of which have never been seen before and which have, at times, given the impression to other countries that they were being invited or provoked to intervene, this is the case.

Every succeeding president declared it a national holiday each year, except a few, and always on the last Thursday in November. 

But President Franklin D. Roosevelt made an effort to shift Thanksgiving back a week to the third week of November, to lengthen the shopping season for Christmas.

In 1942, Roosevelt signed Proclamation-2571 establishing the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving in Canada

Thanksgiving is different in Canada than in the US.It is different in background, history, customs, and traditions.

Thanksgiving was first observed in Canada during the colonial era and was inspired by the same European customs of gratitude for peacefulness, abundant harvests, and safe travels. 

The first commemoration took place in 1578 when an expedition under the command of Martin Frobisher organized a function in what is now Nunavut to express gratitude for its fleet’s safety.

The date of the national Thanksgiving holiday, which Parliament first established on November 6, 1879, has changed over time. 

Since 1957, the second Monday of October has been designated as the day to commemorate Thanksgiving Day in Canada. To this date, Canadians' Thanksgiving is marked on the second Monday of October

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving rituals and traditions multiply every time the holiday season rolls around. Every holiday has associated with family gatherings, and Thanksgiving is no exception! 

Most American families continue customs that were started on the first Thanksgiving, but many now have yearly rituals of their own. Here are a few customs that are widespread duringTurkey Day

1. The Mighty Thanksgiving Dinner!

The unique part of Thanksgiving is Thanksgiving Dinner. Thanksgiving gatherings feature traditional dishes in huge numbers. The entire family often participates in the cooking process. So, what do Americans have for Thanksgiving dinner? Let’s find out.

(a) Turkey

Turkey and Thanksgiving are kind of synonymous with one another! For the Thanksgiving meal, turkeys are a staple in almost every home. Achieving the ideal balance of crackling exterior skin and juicy inner meat takes skill. 

Whether you roast, smoke, bake, brine, or fry the bird, it will be finger-licking good! 

(b) Stuffing

Before putting it in the oven, you must load the turkey with cornmeal, onions, celery, and dried cranberries. 

The "stuffing" turns out to be deliciously moist, meaty and has sweet undertones after spending hours simmering in the turkey's cavity.

(c) Gravy

It's gravy time once you've taken the turkey out of the oven! 

Turkey gravy, a rich sauce that may be lavishly poured over almost every dish at Thanksgiving dinner, is made from the drippings at the bottom of the pan.

(d) Mashed Potato

With all the juicy meaty dishes, isn’t there something still missing? What other use would you make of the gravy if you do not have a mashed potato to go with it?

 Mashed potatoes are perhaps the tastiest and most substantial dish at Thanksgiving dinner when smothered in this rich gravy sauce.

(e) Cranberry Sauce

There is a huge roast turkey with mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, and cranberry sauce all around it.

The cranberry sauce is the sweet and tangy element that will give your taste buds a kick of flavor, and you cannot help but serve yourself more!

(f) Pumpkin Pie

The traditional Thanksgiving dessert is homemade pumpkin pie, which is seasonally appropriate, delicious, and filling. But once you've had turkey and potatoes twice, or even three times, it can be the hardest dish for you to complete. 

Be at ease, however! There is always brunch on Friday if you didn't finish the previous evening.

2. Breaking the Wishbone! 

As part of their festivities, some families break the turkey's wishbone. In the turkey's chest, you can find the wishbone affixed to the breast meat. 

Two individuals take turns holding the wishbone, making wishes and pulling once the meat has been taken out and the wishbone has had an opportunity to dry and become brittle. Ultimately, the larger portion of the bone belongs to whoever receives their wish.

So this Thanksgiving, wish for the bigger half

3. Traveling

Spending time with family is typically one of Thanksgiving's nicest aspects. Many travel great distances by car, rail, or airplane to be with their loved ones since they live far away from them. 

Do you know what the busiest travel week in America is? You guessed it right, it’s none other than Thanksgiving! So check the best and worst days to fly for Thanksgiving and plan your travel itinerary smartly. 

4. Community Service 

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to reach out to those in need, particularly those who might not have as much as you do to be thankful for. Some people give money to homeless shelters or take part in drives to collect canned goods, while others volunteer their time to serve food at shelters for the homeless. You can share your privilege with the people who are needy and live up to the spirit of Thanksgiving.

Countries that Observe Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is usually celebrated on the North American continent. Primarily, Thanksgiving is a holiday in the United States of America and Canada. 

It is also celebrated in some parts of Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Grenada, The Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Japan, and Liberia. 

Interesting Facts About Thanksgiving

Undoubtedly, Americans love Thanksgiving for its amazing history and delicious meals! However, there are some interesting facts related to Thanksgiving as well! So, before chopping up your family's turkey this year, spend some time reading up on some of the fascinating Thanksgiving trivia we could uncover.

  • In more than 20 states, the Day After Thanksgiving, sometimes referred to as Black Friday, is a holiday. During the long weekend, it's common to travel and see family and friends.
  • The first Thanksgiving dinner had no turkeys, no pies! It lasted for three days.
  • Americans eat over 280 million turkeys every Thanksgiving! That’s a lot, no?
  • Every year, the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is seen by about 50 million people.
  • American president pardons a turkey each year to prevent it from ending on the Thanksgiving dinner table! The tradition is called " Turkey Pardon”! 
  • How do you distinguish a ripe cranberry from a bowl? It will bounce!
  • Wishbones are found in chickens and turkeys.
  • For plumbers, the day after Thanksgiving is their busiest day of the year

Unique Thanksgiving Celebration Ideas

The celebration is meant to give thanks for the bounties received throughout the previous year, especially the harvest. Though Thanksgiving has its traditions, you can always come up with unique ideas to celebrate it. This Thanksgiving, try one or two of our ideas! 

  • Gather your family and friends, go around the table and say what you’re thankful for!
  • Get creative with your cooking skills and cook some unique Thanksgiving side dishes to complement your dinner! 
  • If you are prone to a Thanksgiving food coma, avoid heavy foods. Instead, opt for foods like salmon, seaweed, soy, and eggs. 
  • The Thanksgiving meal continues beyond Thursday night. With so much food, the rest of the weekend will be spent eating turkey sandwiches, burritos, and casseroles. Don’t forget to put a moist maker in your sandwich!

Thanksgiving Day Quotes

Ah! On Thanksgiving Day, when from East and West,

From North and South come the pilgrim and guest,

What moistens the lip, and what brightens the eye?

What calls back the past like the rich pumpkin pie?” - J. G. Whittier


1. Which US president did not like Thanksgiving?

Thomas Jefferson. He believed Thanksgiving was based on Puritan religious customs. So supporting the feast meant supporting state-sponsored religion.

2. Who started Thanksgiving?

The Plymouth Colony's Mayflower Pilgrims first began on Thanksgiving.

3. Who pardoned the first turkey?

Beginning in 1989, when George H.W. Bush was president, the "pardoning" rite was held annually. It has persisted ever since.

4. Who was the “Godmother of Thanksgiving”?

Sarah Josepha Hale was the "Godmother of Thanksgiving." She fought for a nationwide day of thanks for forty years, during a period when the holiday was only observed in the Northeast. She eventually convinced the then-President in 1863 that.

Thanksgiving Day Observances

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday Type
2022Thu24 NovThanksgiving DayPublic
2023Thu23 NovThanksgiving DayPublic
2024Thu28 NovThanksgiving DayPublic
2025Thu27 NovThanksgiving DayPublic
2026Thu26 NovThanksgiving DayPublic

We constantly update the dates of holidays that keep changing every year. However, while we revise and change some dates to be accurate, if you find any errors, kindly inform us . That will mean a lot to us.

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