Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day Quick Facts - US

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2023 DateNovember 23, 2023
2024 DateNovember 28, 2024

Thanksgiving Day

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Thanksgiving Day is focused on giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest and the preceding year. It is an observance that holds significant cultural and historical relevance for millions of Americans. The celebration often entails families gathering together to share a festive meal, traditionally including a roasted turkey and festive side dishes.

The origins of Thanksgiving Day date back to the early 17th century when English Pilgrims held the first feast in 1621 at Plymouth, Massachusetts, to express their gratitude to the Native American Wampanoag people who had helped them survive their first year in the New World. The tradition of giving thanks for a successful harvest had long been established in Europe; however, it was not until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November as a national day of Thanksgiving to foster unity in a divided country during the Civil War. Since then, Thanksgiving Day has become an integral part of American culture.

Families across the nation gather for a festive meal, volunteer at local food drives, participate in charity events, or watch the much-anticipated Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which has been an annual event since 1924. Thanksgiving is not just a day of indulgence in delicious food but rather an opportunity for Americans to express their gratitude, spend time with loved ones, and give back to their communities. Thanksgiving Day is observed on the fourth Thursday in November each year.

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Thanksgiving Day facts

  • The first Thanksgiving Day feast was held in 1621 between the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians.
  • In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
  • According to the National Turkey Federation, in 2020, about 46 million turkeys were eaten in the United States.
  • President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as the official Thanksgiving Day in 1941.
  • Thanksgiving is almost here. It's my favorite holiday, which is surprising since I'm no fan of giving or saying thanks. - Stephen Colbert

Top things to do in the US for Thanksgiving Day

  • Eat lots of traditional Thanksgiving food including turkey, cranberry sauce and sweet potatoes.
  • Talk to relatives and friends by phone, email, or internet to remind them how thankful you are that they are all part of your life.
  • Watch or attend a Parade. The largest are the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in New York and the McDonalds Thanksgiving parade in Chicago.
  • Watch or attend a football game. Besides NFL, there are many college and high school football games on this day.
  • Go running or do some other form of exercise in the morning - so you won't feel so guilty indulging a grand Thanksgiving meal.

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