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Holiday Insight: Thanksgiving

General Information

For Americans, Thanksgiving evokes thoughts of pilgrims dressed in their Sunday best, Indians in Native American costume, a table strewn with food from end to end, and families gathered together for a tasty meal that sometimes lasts all day.

For most, however, Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and an opportunity to give thanks for one's blessings. Children love to sing songs about turkeys and delight in sending silly turkey greeting cards and funny Thanksgiving e-cards to their friends and family.

The Thanksgiving meal is certainly often the most memorable part of the day. After all, who doesn't love turkey and yummy pumpkin pie?

History of Thanksgiving

In 1621, after a particularly difficult first year in the New World, Pilgrims surprisingly found themselves with a plentiful harvest. The governor proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and asked the pilgrims to share their fortune with the Indians.

But the first feast was far from today's Thanksgiving dinner. There was no turkey, there probably weren't a lot of vegetables, and there definitely wasn't any pumpkin pie.

The feast wasn't repeated until more than 50 years later and though many presidents proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving, it wasn't until 1941 that Franklin Roosevelt designated the fourth Thursday in November as the official holiday.

Date of Celebration

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November throughout the United States. Canada celebrates a day of Thanksgiving on the 2nd Monday in October.

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