When is Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day is celebrated annually as a national holiday in the North American continent on the fourth Thursday of November. The day is meant to celebrate the harvest season and other blessings of the year gone by.
Thanksgiving Day 2020 date: In 2020, Thanksgiving Day holiday will be celebrated on November 27.
Thanksgiving Day history
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. Pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest and prompted Governor Bradford to call for a religious fast. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on an annual or occasional basis became common practice in other New England settlements as well.
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held on the final Thursday of November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. Roosevelt’s plan, known contemptuously as 'Franksgiving', was met with opposition, and in 1941 the President reluctantly signed a Bill again making Thanksgiving the fourth Thursday in November.
In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday; each celebrated it on a different day, however, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition.
US Presidents who celebrated Thanksgiving Day
In 1789 George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States. His successors John Adams and James Madison also designated days of thanks during their presidencies. So did Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump.
Mother of Thanksgiving Day
A prominent writer and editor, Sarah Josepha Hale is called the mother of Thanksgiving Day. In 1827, Hale — author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” — launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians, urging them to mark Thanksgiving Day holiday. Abraham Lincoln finally heeded her request in 1863.
What happens on Thanksgiving Day
Although Thanksgiving may originally have had religious significance, the day has become a mostly secular holiday now. Most Americans consider the holiday a day to gather and express their thanks through food, family, and football. During some Thanksgiving celebrations, people write down what they are thankful for and then read aloud from the piece of paper.
The day is also celebrated with the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, which attracts some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and draws an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
Thanksgiving Day food
Turkey has become all but synonymous with the holiday. According to the National Turkey Federation, nearly 90 per cent of Americans eat the bird — whether roasted, baked or deep-fried — on Thanksgiving Day. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
Pardoning of turkey ceremony
Since the beginning of the mid-20th century, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement.
Other countries that celebrate Thanksgiving Day holiday
Canada has its own Thanksgiving Day, on the second Monday in October, and Liberia celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Thursday of November.
Black Friday sale
A month-long shopping season for the winter holidays begin after Thanksgiving, with Black Friday kicking off the season.