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Beloved in the United States and Canada, Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated typically on the fourth Thursday of November. It’s a time to reflect on the year, be thankful, and celebrate with friends and family by enjoying a delicious meal together.

History of Thanksgiving

The origins of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the 1620s, when a group of English settlers, known as the Pilgrims, arrived in what is now Massachusetts. After a harsh winter, the Pilgrims were able to harvest a bountiful crop thanks to the help of the Wampanoag Native Americans. In gratitude, the Pilgrims held a feast to give thanks for their survival and the abundance of food. This event is often considered the first Thanksgiving in America.

Over the centuries, Thanksgiving evolved into a national holiday, officially recognized by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863 as a day of national thanksgiving and praise. In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday of November, where it remains today. Thanksgiving has become a time to contemplate the blessings in our lives, be thankful for the bounty of food and the love of family and friends.

Thanksgiving Timeline

1621

The first Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims, a group of English settlers, hold a feast to give thanks for their survival and the abundance of food. They invite the Wampanoag Native Americans to join in the feast, which includes wild fowl, venison, and fish.[1]

1863

Thanksgiving officially recognized

President Abraham Lincoln officially recognizes Thanksgiving as a national holiday by issuing a Proclamation of Thanksgiving, setting aside the last Thursday of November as a day of national thanksgiving and praise.[2]

1939

Thanksgiving moved to fourth Thursday

President Franklin D. Roosevelt moves Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November by issuing a Thanksgiving Proclamation, to extend the holiday shopping period and stimulate the economy.[3]

1924

First Thanksgiving Day Parade

Organized by Gimbels Department Store, the first Thanksgiving Day Parade is held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The parade features floats, bands, and live animals, and it becomes an annual tradition.[4]

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the U.S. and Canada. It is a time to gather with family and friends, be thankful for all of the good things, and enjoy Thanksgiving, so here are a few ways to celebrate:

Host a Thanksgiving Dinner

One of the most popular ways to celebrate Thanksgiving is by hosting a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. This includes inviting friends and family to gather around the table for a delicious feast of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Add some of your own family’s traditional dishes to make it more personal. Don’t forget to set the table with autumn decorations to add a festive touch to the occasion.

Volunteer at a Local Shelter

Thanksgiving is a time to give back to our communities. Many shelters and food banks need volunteers to help serve meals to those in need on Thanksgiving Day, which is a wonderful way to make a difference in your community and to show gratitude for what we have by helping others. You can also donate non-perishable food items and clothing to the shelter in advance of Thanksgiving day.

Start a New Tradition

Thanksgiving is a time to create new memories with loved ones. Start a new tradition, such as a family football game or a pie-making competition.

This is a great way to bond with loved ones, and it will also make Thanksgiving more fun and memorable. You can also make Thanksgiving a day of service by participating in a community clean-up or by visiting a local nursing home to bring cheer to the residents.

Reflect on the Year

Take time to look back on the past year and all the things you are thankful for. This can be done by writing in a gratitude journal, by sharing with friends and family, or by joining a community gratitude event. Reflecting on the year can help us appreciate the good things in our lives and be more mindful of the present moment, and it also helps to set the tone for the upcoming holiday season.

Thanksgiving FAQs

What is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada, on the fourth Thursday of November. It is a time to reflect on the year, and gather with loved ones to enjoy dinner together.

When is Thanksgiving celebrated?

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and Canada.

Who celebrates Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is celebrated by people in the United States and Canada.

How is Thanksgiving traditionally celebrated?

Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated with a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, with family and friends.

When did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?

Thanksgiving officially became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a day of national thanksgiving and praise.

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