© Carole Kanchier,PhD
Thanksgiving is a Federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States of America.
Traditionally, this holiday celebrates the giving of thanks for the autumn harvest.
The custom of giving thanks for the annual harvest is one of the world’s oldest celebrations and can be traced back to the dawn of civilization.
However, it is not commonly a major modern event and arguably the success of the American holiday has been due to it being seen as a time to give ‘thanks’ for the foundation of the nation and not just as a celebration of the harvest.
The American tradition of Thanksgiving dates back to 1621 when the pilgrims gave thanks for their first bountiful harvest in Plymouth Rock. The settlers had arrived in November 1620, founding the first permanent English settlement in the New England region.
This first Thanksgiving was celebrated for three days, with the settlers feasting with the natives on dried fruits, boiled pumpkin, turkey, venison and much more.
Thanksgiving didn’t become a nationwide holiday until President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November a national day of Thanksgiving in 1863. Every year following, the President proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving was switched from the final Thursday in November to the next-to-last Thursday in November by President Roosevelt in 1939 as he wanted to create a longer Christmas shopping period to simulate the economy which was still recovering after the Great Depression.
This caused widespread confusion with many states ignoring the change until Congress sanctioned the fourth Thursday in November as a legal holiday in 1941.
The holiday has evolved into what Americans now know as Thanksgiving. It is a day to gather with loved ones, celebrate, give thanks for many blessings and, of course, eat. The traditional American Thanksgiving meal includes turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, yams, and pumpkin pie. The meal stems from that eaten by the pilgrims at the first Thanksgiving.
In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday in October.
Wishing you, your family, co-workers and friends a very happy and blessed Thanksgiving.
Author Bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, registered psychologist, coach and author of award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/15r-Life/dp/08408963
Carole Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz, University of Alberta, and other institutions of higher learning. She is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.
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