Thanksgiving is a national holiday that falls on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. This is a day to give thanks for the positive aspects of life. Traditionally, families get together for a meal that represents food the pilgrims might have eaten when they first came to North America. Turkey is the main event.
On Thanksgiving, people often travel to see out of town relatives. This is a day to celebrate togetherness and thankfulness with loved ones far and near. A meal is served on thanksgiving that generally includes turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie among many other things. Children often celebrate the pilgrims and the Native Americans coming together in school. Parades, such as the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, are held on this day to celebrate Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas season. Shopping and decorating for Christmas often begin just after Thanksgiving ends.
Traditionally, people celebrate Thanksgiving to remember the Pilgrims first arrival in America. It is said that when these people were struggling to grow crops in the new land, the Native Americans helped them learn how to grow food and catch fish. To thank them, the Pilgrims prepared a meal, which all of the people enjoyed together in the spirit of sharing and thankfulness. Today, this story is widely believed to be untrue, but it is still an important part of what Thanksgiving is all about. It celebrates the idea of people coming together despite their differences to give thanks.
The true origins of Thanksgiving are widely debated. Many people who first arrived in America would have feasts to celebrate arriving safely or having a successful harvest. These feasts would usually accompany a religious ceremony to give thanks to God. There is evidence that the pilgrims did this in 1621 after their first harvest. Other evidence points to people from different parts of the country having similar such celebrations years earlier. The tradition of thanksgiving today could have hailed from any one of these early feasts.