African Americans celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving

Vacation in different countries
A North American Thanksgiving dinner
Observed by countries
  • Canada
  • Grenada
  • Liberia
  • St. Lucia
  • United States

Subnational units

Art National, cultural
date 2nd Monday in October (Canada)
1st Thursday in November (Liberia)
Last Wednesday of November (Norfolk Island)
4th Thursday in November (USA and Brazil)
Date 2021 October 11, 2021 (Canada);

November 4, 2021 (Liberia);
November 24, 2021 (Norfolk Island);

November 25, 2021 (US and Brazil)
Date 2022 October 10, 2022 (Canada);

November 3, 2022 (Liberia);
November 30, 2022 (Norfolk Island);

November 24, 2022 (US and Brazil)

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Liberia. It began as a day of thanks and sacrifice for the blessings of the harvest and the past year. Similarly named festival holidays take place in Germany and Japan. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada and the fourth Thursday in November in the US, and around the same time of year in other locations. Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday.


Thanksgiving prayers and special thanksgiving ceremonies are common in almost all religions after the harvest and at other times. The history of Thanksgiving in North America is rooted in English traditions from the Protestant Reformation. It also has aspects of a harvest festival, although in New England the harvest takes place well before the late November date when the modern day Thanksgiving is celebrated.

In English tradition, Thanksgiving Day and Special Services of Religious Thanksgiving was held during the important English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII and in response to the large number of religious holidays on the Catholic calendar. Prior to 1536 there were 95 church holidays plus 52 Sundays when people went to church and had to forego work and sometimes pay for expensive celebrations. The 1536 reforms reduced the number of church holidays to 27, but some Puritans wanted to remove all church holidays, including Christmas and Easter. The holidays should be replaced with special days of fasting or days of Thanksgiving in response to events the Puritans considered special providence. Unexpected disasters or threats of judgment from the heights required days of fasting. Special blessings believed to have come from God called for thanksgiving days. For example, fasting days were proclaimed for drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and epidemics in 1604 and 1622. Days of thanks were proclaimed after defeating the Spanish Armada in 1588 and after the liberation of Queen Anne in 1705. An unusual annual Thanksgiving festival began in 1606 after the gunpowder plot failed in 1605 and turned into Guy Fawkes Day on November 5th.

In Canada

According to some historians, the first thanksgiving celebration in North America took place during Martin Frobisher's voyage from England in search of the Northwest Passage in 1578. However, other researchers state that "there is no convincing account of the origins of the Canadian Thanksgiving Festival".

The origins of the Canadian harvest festival sometimes go back to the French settlers who came to New France in the 17th century and celebrated their successful harvests. The French settlers in the area usually had festivals at the end of the harvest season. They continued throughout the winter season and even shared the food with the indigenous peoples of the area.

When settlers came to Nova Scotia from New England after 1700, Thanksgiving celebrations in late fall were the order of the day. New immigrants to the country - such as the Irish, Scots, and Germans - also added their own traditions to the harvest celebrations. Most aspects of Thanksgiving in the United States (such as the turkey) were taken into account when the loyalists of the United Kingdom began to flee the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada.

In the United States

Pilgrims and Puritans who emigrated from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the tradition of Lent and Thanksgiving with them to New England. The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition dates back to a well-recorded event in Virginia in 1619 and a poorly documented celebration in Plymouth, now Massachusetts, in 1621. The 1619 arrival of 38 English settlers at Berkeley Hundred, Charles City County, Virginia, concluded with a religious celebration, as dictated by the group's charter from the London Society, which "required that the day our ship arrives at the site be assigned. . in the land of Virginia is to be held sacred annually and forever as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God. "The Plymouth Festival and Thanksgiving Festival of 1621 were sparked by a good harvest. The pilgrims celebrated this with Native Americans who had helped them get through the previous winter by feeding them during this time of scarcity.

There were several Thanksgiving days known as the "First Thanksgiving Festival" in early New England history, including a pilgrimage vacation to Plymouth in 1621 and 1623 and a Puritan holiday in Boston in 1631. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual Thanksgiving services to ease the siege of Leiden in 1574 while they were in Leiden. That now as Oktoberfeest designated Leiden harvest festival in 1617 sparked sectarian unrest that seems to have accelerated pilgrims' plans to immigrate to America.

Later in Massachusetts, religious Thanksgiving services were declared by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford, who planned the colony's 1623 Thanksgiving celebration and festival. In the late 1630s, the Pequot were blamed for killing a white man, which resulted in the colonizers burning down Pequot villages, killing those who did not perish in the fires. Hundreds of Pequots were killed, prompting Governor Bradford to announce that from now on Thanksgiving would "celebrate the bloody victory and thank God that the battle was won". The practice of holding an annual harvest festival did not become a regular occurrence in New England until the late 1660s.

Thanksgiving proclamations were made primarily by church leaders in New England until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders after the American Revolution. During the Revolution, political influences influenced the issuing of the Thanksgiving proclamation. Various proclamations were made by royal governors and, conversely, by patriotic leaders such as John Hancock, General George Washington, and the Continental Congress, each of whom thanked God for events that were favorable to their ends. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide Thanksgiving celebration in America on November 26, 1789, "as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer on which the many and signaled favors of Almighty God are recognized with a grateful heart." .

Debate on the nation's first celebrations

Shrine of the first U.S. Thanksgiving Day 1619 in Berkeley Hundred in Charles City County, Virginia

The question of where the first Thanksgiving Day took place in the United States was particularly controversial between New England and Virginia. The question is complicated by the concept of Thanksgiving as a holiday celebration or as a worship service. James Baker claims, "The real origin of the American holiday was the New England Calvinist harvest festival. Never associated with a Sabbath, the Puritan festivals were special days dedicated to thanksgiving and praise in response to God's providence during the week." Baker calls the debate a "storm in a bean pot" and "wonderful nonsense" based on regional claims. However, the day for Thanksgiving services, specifically codified in the founding charter of Berkeley Hundred in 1619, was instrumental in President John F. Kennedy's attempt to compromise regional claims, stated by Proclamation 3560 on the November 5th edition, 1963 : “Over three centuries ago, our ancestors in Virginia and Massachusetts, far from home in a deserted wilderness, planned a time of thanks. On the appointed day they reverently thanked for their safety, for the health of their children, and for the fertility of their fields, for the love that bound them together and for the faith that bound them to their God. "

Other claims include an earlier service by Spanish explorers in Texas at San Elizario in 1598. University of Florida historians Robyn Gioia and Michael Gannon argue that the earliest Thanksgiving service in what is now the United States was held by the Spanish congregation in September 8, 1565, in present-day Saint Augustine, Florida.

Fixed date


The earlier Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada were traced back to the early start of winter in the north, ending the harvest season earlier. Thanksgiving in Canada didn't have a fixed date until the late 19th century. Before the Canadian Confederation, many of the individual colonial governors of the Canadian provinces had declared their own Thanksgiving holidays. The first official Canadian Thanksgiving Day took place on April 15, 1872, as the nation celebrated the recovery of the Prince of Wales from a serious illness.

At the end of the 19th century, Thanksgiving was usually celebrated on November 6th. At the end of the 19th century, the militia organized "mock battles" for public entertainment on the harvest festival. The militia were excited to schedule an earlier date for the holidays so they could take advantage of the warmer weather to attract larger crowds. When World War I ended, the armistice holidays usually coincided with the same week. To prevent the two holidays from conflicting with each other, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed in 1957 that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on its current date on the second Monday in October.

United States

Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on different dates. From the time of the Founding Fathers to the time of Lincoln, the date of compliance varied from state to state. The last Thursday in November had become the common date in most US states at the beginning of the 19th century, coinciding with and eventually superseding the holiday of Evacuation Day (commemorating the day the British followed the United States left the War of Independence). The modern day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed for all states by Abraham Lincoln in 1863. Influenced by Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for about 40 years advocating an official holiday, Lincoln proclaimed the national Thanksgiving day for the last Thursday in November, expressly in celebration of the bounties that continue to be on the union and fallen for the union were military successes in war and also expressly in "modest penance for our national perversity and our disobedience". Due to the ongoing civil war, a nationwide Thanksgiving celebration was not held until after the rebuilding was completed in the 1870s.

On October 31, 1939, for business reasons, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a presidential proclamation postponing the holiday to the penultimate Thursday in November. On December 26, 1941, he signed a joint resolution of Congress postponing the national harvest festival to the fourth Thursday in November.

Since 1971, when the American Uniform Monday Holiday Act came into effect, American Columbus Day observance coincided with Canadian Thanksgiving Day observance.



On the Australian outskirts of Norfolk Island, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the last Wednesday in November, similar to the American Thursday before World War II on the last Thursday of the month. This means that Norfolk Island compliance occurs the day before or six days after United States compliance. The vacation was brought to the island by visiting American whaling ships.


In Brazil, President Gaspar Dutra's national harvest festival was introduced by Law 781 of August 17, 1949 at the suggestion of Ambassador Joaquim Nabuco, who was enthusiastic about the commemorations he witnessed in 1909 at St. Patrick's Cathedral as Ambassador to Washington. In 1966, Law 5110 stipulated that Thanksgiving should be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. This date is celebrated by many families of American descent, from some Protestant Christian denominations, such as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Brazil (which is of American origin), the Presbyterian Church, the Baptist Church, the Methodist Church, and the Church of the Nazarene and Methodist denominational universities. The day is also celebrated by Protestant churches such as the Foursquare Gospel Church in Brazil.


Pumpkin pie is often served on and around Thanksgiving in North America.

Thanksgiving (French: l'Action de grace ), which takes place on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday celebrating at the end of the harvest season. Although the original act of parliament refers to God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is mostly celebrated in a secular way. Thanksgiving is a public holiday in all provinces of Canada except New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. While shops may remain open in these provinces, the holiday is recognized and celebrated regardless of its status.


The West Indian island of Grenada in the Caribbean has a national holiday known as Thanksgiving Day, which is celebrated on October 25th. Although it has the same name and is celebrated around the same time as the American and Canadian versions, Thanksgiving is a holiday that has nothing to do with these celebrations. Instead, the holiday marks the anniversary of the US-led invasion of the island in 1983 in response to the ousting and execution of socialist Grenadian Prime Minister Maurice Bishop by a military government from his own party.


In Liberia, West Africa, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the first Thursday in November. The Thanksgiving tradition there is rooted in the establishment of the nation as a colony of the American Colonization Society in 1821 by free colored people from the United States. Although recognized across the country, Thanksgiving is mainly practiced by American Liberians, descendants of Liberia's original African American settlers.


Many of the pilgrims who immigrated to Plymouth Plantation lived in the city of Leiden from 1609 to 1620 and had their births, marriages and deaths recorded in the Pieterskerk (St. Peter's Church). Every year on the morning of the American Thanksgiving Day, a non-denominational Thanksgiving service is held in the Pieterskerk, a Gothic church in Leiden, to commemorate the hospitality of pilgrims in Leiden on their way to the New World.

Thanksgiving is celebrated by Orthodox Protestant churches in the Netherlands on the first Wednesday in November (Dankdag). It's not a holiday. Those observing the day either go to church in the evening or take the day off and go to church in the morning (and occasionally in the afternoon).


The Philippines was an American colony during the first half of the 20th century and celebrated Thanksgiving on the same day as Americans as a special holiday. During the Japanese occupation during World War II, both Americans and Filipinos celebrated Thanksgiving in secret. After the Japanese withdrawal in 1945, the tradition continued until 1969. It was resuscitated by President Ferdinand Marcos, but the date was changed on every 21stChanged September when martial law was imposed in the country. After Marcos' fall in 1986, the tradition was discontinued due to the controversial events during his long tenure.

As of 2020, Thanksgiving was revived as a commercial and cultural holiday, despite being stripped of its official status. SM supermalls were leading the slow resuscitation of the Thanksgiving Day on the same day as the US was earlier. Many shopping malls and hotels have special sales on that day. This is part of the long Christmas party in the Philippines, which starts in September (as opposed to Black Friday in the US).


Called Umuganura day , this is a harvest festival to mark the start of the harvest in Rwanda. It is celebrated on the first Friday in August.

St. Lucia

The nation of St. Lucia celebrates Thanksgiving on the first Monday in October.

United States

Thanksgiving, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November since 1941 by federal law, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863, brought about by the proclamation of the President and by state law since the Founding Fathers of the United States. Traditionally, Thanksgiving was a celebration of the blessings of the year, including the harvest. On Thanksgiving Day, it is common for Americans to share family dinners, attend church services, and watch special sporting events. In addition, Thanksgiving is celebrated in public places with parades like Macy's Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, ABC Dunkin 'Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia, America's Hometown Thanksgiving Parade in Plymouth, Massachusetts, McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade in Chicago, and Bayou Classic Thanksgiving Parade in New Orleans. What Americans call the "Christmas season" generally begins with Thanksgiving. The first day after Thanksgiving - Black Friday - marks the start of the Christmas shopping season.

Similarly named holidays


A food decoration for the Erntedankfest, a Christian harvest festival celebrated in Germany

The harvest festival is a popular German Christian festival on the first Sunday in October. The festival has an important religious component and many churches are decorated with autumn fruits. Religious processions or parades take place in some places. Many Bavarian beer festivals such as the Munich Oktoberfest take place in the vicinity of the Thanksgiving day.


Labor Thanksgiving Day (勤 労 感謝 の 日, Kinro Kansha no hello ) is a national holiday in Japan. It takes place annually on November 23rd. The public holiday law, passed during the American occupation after World War II, cites it as an occasion to commemorate work and production and to thank one another. It has roots in the ancient Shinto harvest ceremony ( Niiname-sai (新 嘗 祭)).

United Kingdom

Thanksgiving Day Harvest Festival has no official date in the UK. However, it traditionally takes place on or near the Sunday of the harvest moon, which is closest to the autumnal equinox. Thanksgiving in Great Britain also has pre-Christian roots, when the Saxons offered fertility gods the first sheaf of barley, oats or wheat. When the harvest was finally gathered, the churches would gather for a harvest dinner. When Christianity first arrived in Britain, many traditions persisted and today the harvest festival is marked by churches and schools in late September / early October (like in Canada), where people sing, pray and decorate with baskets of food and fruit for one celebrate successful harvest and celebrate thank you. Typically, food is collected which is then given to local charities that help the homeless and needy.

See also



  • Baker, James W. (2009). Thanksgiving: the biography of an American holiday . UPNE. p. 273. ISBN.
  • Pony, Jeremy D. "Thanksgiving on the Net: Roast Bull with Cranberry Sauce". Sail 1620 . Society of Mayflower Descendants in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Archived from the original on November 2, 2012. Retrieved October 23, 2012.
  • Colman, Penny (2008). Thanksgiving: the real story . Macmillan. p. 149. ISBN.
  • Dow, Judy; Slapin, Beverly (June 12, 2006). "Deconstructing the Myths of" The First Thanksgiving ". Archived from the original on November 29, 2010. Retrieved November 29, 2010.
  • Hillstrom, Laurie Collier (2007). The Thanksgiving book: a companion to the holiday through its history, lore, ... Omnigraphics. p. 328. ISBN.
  • Hodgson, Godfrey (2006). A great and divine adventure; The pilgrims and the myth of the first harvest festival . New York: Public Affairs. p. 212. ISBN.

External links