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This year, Thanksgiving Day will fall on Thursday, November 24. Americans are getting ready to celebrate the day by giving thanks for all they have, while surrounded by family and friends. The President of the United States pardons a live turkey at the White House every year to add an element of fun to this special holiday!

Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in the United States. It was originally celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessings of the preceding year’s harvest. Each year, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and on the second Monday of October in Canada. As Thanksgiving 2016 is approaching in the United States, people are gearing up to celebrate the holiday in a big way. In the U.S., it has always been a tradition to celebrate Thanksgiving with joy and enthusiasm, with parades, football games, and lots of food.

What is Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving is the expression of gratitude for everything we have. It is an annual national holiday marked by a traditional turkey feast. The holiday commemorates the harvest festival, celebrated by the Pilgrims in 1621.

What is Thanksgiving Day

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Why is Thanksgiving Celebrated?

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States as a national holiday dedicated to being with family and friends, to give thanks for all of the blessings received throughout the year. The holiday is believed to have been celebrated first in 1621, when the Plymouth settlers enjoyed a fall feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest with the local Wampanoag Native Americans. According to historians, the tradition of having these harvest feasts came over to America with the Puritan and Pilgrim settlers from England. During the first feast, the attendees dined on pumpkin, turkey, goose, corn and other harvested crops that are now common at Thanksgiving dinners.

When Did Thanksgiving Start?

Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally since 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. It has been celebrated as a federal holiday every year since 1863 when, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Together with Christmas and the New Year, Thanksgiving is part of the broader holiday season.

When Did Thanksgiving Start

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Facts about Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 and included 50 Pilgrims, 90 Wampanoag Native Americans, and it lasted three days. According to many historians, only five women were present at that first Thanksgiving, as many women settlers did not survive their first difficult year in the United States. Historians say that no turkey was served at that first Thanksgiving. Instead, the menu comprised of deer or venison, ducks, geese, oysters, lobsters, eel, and fish. The first Thanksgiving was eaten with spoons and knives but no forks, as they were not yet introduced to the pilgrims.

Thanksgiving Myths

One big myth about Thanksgiving is that Native Americans were invited to the feast. It is likely that the noise from the shooting games and the festivities brought the Native Americans over to investigate. At that point, they were allowed to participate in the festivities, and the Native Americans contributed some deer. Another myth is that the Pilgrims and Native Americans sat down formally for Thanksgiving dinner. At that point, Pilgrims did not have any utensils and dishes. The food was set down on the available flat surfaces. The Native Americans came and went as they pleased over the length of the three-day festival.

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Thanksgiving Myths

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Save the Turkey!

Thanksgiving is not complete without its fair share of fun. Every year, there is an official “pardoning” of the White House turkey, which is an event loved by all Americans. The President of the United States pardons one turkey, thereby saving its life. President Barack Obama will have his final turkey pardon on November 24, 2016. We wish everybody a very happy Thanksgiving. May the festivities begin!

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Sources:
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