Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a national holiday, and Thanksgiving always occurs on the fourth Thursday in November, so the date varies every year, so it’s on 26 November this year.
President Abraham Lincoln should be credited not only for abolishing slavery but also for declaring Thanksgiving back in 1863 as a federal holiday.
Without much of the commercialism that has crept into many other celebrations, an entire day was focused on sharing time with loved ones and being grateful. But remember the opportunity this day provides to educate children about the essential values of Thanksgiving, such as thankfulness, appreciation, and family before you head to the table to enjoy your tasty Thanksgiving feast.
History of Thanksgiving Day
“The annual feast is in celebration of the first” Thanksgiving in America, in Virginia in 1619, and in 1621, when colonists shared a meal with the Wampanoag Indians, who were native to the land, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, later known as the Pilgrims.
The later festival was in honor of the assistance obtained from the Native Americans by the pilgrims in planting crops and surviving their first harsh winter, and it lasted three days.
Later, during their presidencies, US presidents such as George Washington, John Adams, and James Madison asked for days of thanks.
It was not until 1863, during the Civil War, however, that President Abraham Lincoln announced that every November a national Thanksgiving Day would be held to commemorate the country.
Why is Thanksgiving celebrated in America?
Despite not being an official public holiday in November until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared it so, with Congressional support, the roots of the holiday extend further.
It can be traced back to 1621 when local Native Americans were welcomed to their harvest celebrations by Pilgrims (settlers from England) in New England to celebrate the harvest feast after a great season of progress.
Turkey was not on the menu, despite its pride of place at typical Thanksgiving dinners.
The Pilgrims and their visitors would have enjoyed the chicken, the fish, the lobster, and the deer instead.
Instead of one the initial festivities lasted for three days and resulted in the harvest celebrations in England at the time, but in modern England, these had much less importance.
After a proclamation by President George Washington, it was first celebrated nationwide on and off from 1789.
President Thomas Jefferson did not celebrate it, and it wasn’t until President Abraham Lincoln was in office after the American Civil War that it became a formal holiday in 1863.
However, amid some debate, it was President Roosevelt who solidified the contemporary timings and dates.
How to Celebrate Thanksgiving Day?
Often, the day is full of pomp and color. It is a wonderful time to exchange presents and post lovely Thanksgiving messages with your loved ones. Get a special Thanksgiving meal of ham, potatoes, and a range of veggies if you want to impress your family and friends. You will attend New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade and enjoy energetic performances if you wish to fly out of town. Usually, the parades mark the official Christmas shopping opening.
A Thanksgiving Day parade is held in many major cities, the most popular of which is the Macy’s parade in New York City, an annual pageant of floats, cheerleaders, marching bands and giant helium balloons in the form of cartoon characters such as Mickey Mouse and Felix the Cat.
A big part of Thanksgiving is performed by football (the American version). It is a long-held Thanksgiving tradition to play and watch American football. Practically since the game’s invention, the National Football League has competed over the Thanksgiving holiday, and it’s one of the greatest days in the football calendar.
Usually, family members gather together, express thanks, and take part in a Thanksgiving meal. To get away from the chaos in the cities and enjoy a nice break, many also schedule a weekend vacation.