What is Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, Canada, and other countries that celebrate the bounty and other blessings of the past year. The United States celebrates Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, and Canada celebrates Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October. Elsewhere, it is celebrated at the same time of year. While Thanksgiving has deep historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has developed over time to be celebrated as a secular holiday.
Origin of Thanksgiving
The earliest Thanksgiving ceremonies can be traced back to 1607 in the Commonwealth of Virginia, when it became customary to celebrate Thanksgiving at the first permanent settlement in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1610, to give thanks for oneself, for victories, for God's favors, and other moments of joy.
There is also a popular theory that it originated as a harvest celebration held by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Pilgrims in Massachusetts in 1621, but historian James Baker has argued that the true origin of American Thanksgiving is the Neo-Ingliscan Calvinist Thanksgiving, in which special days of the week were set aside for thanksgiving and praise in response to God's will.
From surviving sources, the first true Thanksgiving in the United States was actually in 1623, when they took the form of a special church service rather than a feast to give thanks for the rain that ended the drought.
Although many theories exist about the origins of Thanksgiving, and in some areas, there is more than one Thanksgiving each year, with different communities celebrating Thanksgiving on different days. In the United States, however, the first president, George Washington, declared the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789.
American Thanksgiving Traditions
Americans give thanks for what they have now on Thanksgiving and gather with family and friends for a meal, which traditionally includes roast turkey, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie.
In some towns and cities, parades are held on the weekend of Thanksgiving week. In the United States, the start of these celebrations also marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season.
Taking a Small Vacation
Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a state public holiday, and since the day after Thanksgiving is Black Friday, many government entities, schools, businesses, etc. will be on vacation from Thanksgiving Day until this weekend. They will take advantage of this mini vacation to spend quality time with their family and friends.
Watching TV Programs
Many American families will watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City on Thanksgiving Day, a huge parade that will include giant nitrogen balloons, marching bands, floats, songs, and performances from the Broadway musical. Or watch the soccer game and share the highlights with family and friends as you celebrate the holiday together.
However since Thanksgiving is one of the busiest times for local travel in the United States, it can cause some degree of traffic congestion and overcrowding. The public transportation system usually does not operate on its normal schedule on that day as it used to.
Thanksgiving Traditions in Canada
Thanksgiving has been officially recognized as an annual holiday in Canada since November 1879, and although the exact date varies from year to year, it is usually the second Monday in October. Although the actual Thanksgiving holiday falls on a Monday, Canadians can gather for a Thanksgiving meal on any day of the long weekend, with the most common date being on a Sunday. Traditional Canadian foods include roast turkey, roast beef, ham, mashed potatoes, a variety of fall vegetables, local dishes, and desserts.
Thanksgiving Day Classic
In Canada, the Canadian Football League usually hosts a nationally televised doubleheader, the Thanksgiving Classic. This is one of two weeks in which the league plays every Monday afternoon, with the other week being the Labor Day Classic.
Other Big Events
Many communities in Canada hold events the week before or on the day of the holiday; for example, the Markham Fair is an annual agricultural harvest festival that takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving; the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade at the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest is also broadcast, a Thanksgiving Day parade featuring floats, local civic figures, local performing troupes, and marching bands; and there is also Fort Langley's Celebrate Cranberries! Fort Langley also hosts a community festival celebrating the cranberry harvest, with local crafts, produce, and handicrafts for sale during the event.
Differences between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving
The biggest difference between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving is what happens the day after Thanksgiving. The day after Thanksgiving in the United States is the famous Black Friday, which is the biggest shopping day of the year in the United States and sees a lot of shopping sprees and traffic jams. The day after Thanksgiving in Canada, on the other hand, most Canadians have to go to work as normal and there aren't any shopping sprees.
Harvest festivals are celebrated during the harvest month in the UK, religious holidays celebrated in early October in Germany, the Jewish agricultural festival of Tabernacles, and other celebrations that take place sometime in September or October each year, although every country and region celebrates the harvest and gives thanks for blessings differently, everyone can be thankful for themselves, their family, and their friends on that day, and no matter what, I hope that everyone can find a lot of things to be thankful for.