What is Thanksgiving Day ?
Thanksgiving Day commemorates a celebration hosted by the Pilgrims to give thanks to the Native Americans for helping them survive the first year in the new world. The first year in 1620 after the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock found them with many hardships and many more died of starvation and disease. The local Native Wampanoag Tribe aided the settlers, taught them how to grow food and hunt and as a result, the settlers thanked the Natives by inviting them to a harvest feast. From that time on, it became a custom to have Thanksgiving celebrations for many events but there was never an official holiday made until much later.
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By the end of the Revolutionary War, President George Washington called for a day of giving Thanks but it was still up to each successive president to proclaim a day of thanks IF he felt one was needed. After the victory at Gettysburg by the Union, many Americans wanted a public holiday to unite the entire nation so it was President Abraham Lincoln who proclaimed the last Thursday in November as the official Thanksgiving Day. This was not a popular day in the South to begin with and most Americans celebrated the day by gathering with family and attending Church.
When is Thanksgiving Day ?
Even though President Franklin Delano Roosevelt tried to change the holiday to encourage higher retail sales because the day after Thanksgiving marked the beginning of the shopping season for Christmas. Congress changed the date to the fourth Thursday in November by the end of 1941 and because it is a federal holiday, all schools, government offices and most businesses are closed.
Thanksgiving Day celebrations consist of families and friends getting together for the traditional turkey dinner with a variety of side dishes after which either attending or watching the Macys Thanksgiving Day parade is the order of the day. Even though most people have Friday off as well, all retail stores open and this day is considered one of the busiest shopping days of the year.
Happy Thanksgiving Day