Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November.
In September 1620, a small ship called the ‘Mayflower’ left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable crossing, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth.
Throughout that first brutal winter, most of the colonists remained on board the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious disease. Only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining settlers moved ashore, where they received an astonishing visit from an Indian called Squanto who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe.
In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, they held a celebratory feast which lasted three days. That event, is now remembered as American’s first ‘Thanksgiving’.
Here you have a video explaining the beginning of this celebration:
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal and give thanks for what they have. The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables.