Thanksgiving Day is one of the most popular American holidays. We celebrate it on the 4th Thursday of November, right before Black Friday. Let’s have a look at the holiday’s meaning, traditions, and origin.
Thanksgiving Day is a family holiday, which means that it is a time for family members and close friends to unite and eat together. Normally, you would find potatoes and other vegetables, a pumpkin pie, gravy, and, of course, turkey among traditional holiday dishes.
The holiday bears a significant spiritual value, because it is a time for us to be thankful for what we have.
Some cities hold Thanksgiving Day parades. As the holiday precedes Christmas, the celebrations also mean that the Christmas shopping season has officially begun. In most cases, people have four days-off, which is a perfect opportunity to visit their relatives.
Thanksgiving Day is a big holiday, so most public institutions, such as government offices, schools, banks, etc., are closed. As it has just been mentioned, many businesses allow a Friday day-off as well to let the employees have four days to celebrate.
Many people choose to visit their nearest and dearest, so it’s no wonder Thanksgiving Day is one of the periods with the biggest number of travelers in the country. Traffic congestion and overcrowded public transport are unmistakable signs of Thanksgiving Day.
Thanksgiving Day History
The Americans started to celebrate this annual holiday in 1863. However, not everyone agrees there is a reason for festivities. Some Native Americans suggest people should have a National Day of Mourning instead. Every year, since 1970, they stage a protest in Plymouth, Massachusetts, on this day.
The origin of Thanksgiving is not absolutely clear. Some records indicate it was first celebrated in El Paso, Texas. The others show it was Virginia Colony which held the event first.
Similar to the other famous American holidays, Thanksgiving Day originated from peasant celebrations. In the beginning of the 17th century, the Pilgrims of Massachusetts had a harvest celebration, which seems to be a predecessor of the modern Thanksgiving Day. A few years later, the Pilgrims suffered from a severe drought, so when it was over, they gave thanks to the rain. This was rather a church service than a festive celebration, but it is known to be the first true Thanksgiving Day.
Some years later, thanksgivings started to grow popular around the country, having transformed into annual celebrations. Initially, different communities chose different days to celebrate. In 1789, George Washington ended the chaos proclaiming the first national Thanksgiving Day.