Thanksgiving is one of the most celebrated holidays in the United States of America, Canada, Norfolk Islands, and other such regions that fall under the common geographical area. People enjoy and celebrate Thanksgiving to thank the God for His blessings, the grains that were harvested, and all other positive activities and events that took place in their lives the preceding year.
On the occasion of Thanksgiving, people generally travel to their homes if they are working at some distant locations. People who live with their families visit their relatives, friends, colleagues, etc. on this day.
Although Thanksgiving is celebrated everywhere and by everyone, the day of celebrating the Thanksgiving varies in different countries. For example in Canada the Thanksgiving is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of October, whereas in the United States it is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of the month of November.
The importance of Thanksgiving can be easily understood by the fact that many offices in the United States of America and Canada allow the holidays of 4 days in the week of Thanksgiving. The organizations do so in order to give the privilege to their employees so that they can visit their hometowns and meet their families, friends, relatives, and all others who they care for.
Since the occasion of Thanksgiving is the season of extensive travelling, many times it is hard for the people to find reservations on the public transports such as railways, buses, trains, etc.
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in the year 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was celebrated because the governor of the place invited everyone for a grand feast that he organized to celebrate the successful harvesting of the Pilgrims’ corns. The entire celebration lasted for 3 long days and everyone enjoyed the entire tenure of the celebration. However, the people who participated in the grand feast were unaware of the fact that this celebration would create a history for the United States of America, and will be called by the name of ‘Thanksgiving Day’ and will be celebrated every year. Unfortunately the entire menu of the dishes of the first Thanksgiving is still undisclosed.
Since 1863, the United States of America has declared the Thanksgiving Day as the annual holiday that should be given to all the citizens. In 1970, a Native Americans group along with their supporters insisted the government of Plymouth, Massachusetts to declare the Thanksgiving Day as the National Day of Mourning which the government finally accepted.
Thanksgiving in Different Countries/Regions
As mentioned above, Thanksgiving is celebrated in many countries which include United States of America, Canada, etc. In these different countries, the thanksgiving is celebrated in different ways. Also, the reason why these countries celebrate the Thanksgiving also varies. A brief information about some countries, and their reasons and way of celebrating Thanksgiving is discussed as follows:
Thanksgiving in Canada
Thanksgiving in Canada has a bit confusing history. Although the Thanksgiving Day is equally celebrated in the entire Canada the same day, as per the history, the first Thanksgiving Day had some confusing issues where the ideas of people have conflicts and:
Some people say that the first Thanksgiving Day in Canada was celebrated by an explorer named Martin Frobisher in the year 1578. Since Martin Frobisher was an explorer, the Thanksgiving Day that he celebrated was not because of the decent crop harvesting but because he was able to successfully make his journey all the way from the England. During his journey from England via Pacific Ocean, he faced several obstructions such as storms, icebergs, etc. but successfully reached Canada.
In Early 17th Century:
On the other hand, many people say that the first Thanksgiving Day in Canada was celebrated in early 17th century when a few settlers came to the place from New England. Since the settlers were new to the ground, they started sowing the seeds for their living. In the early 17th century, when they were able to harvest their first crops, they celebrated the Thanksgiving Day with utmost joy.
Even though the history of the Thanksgiving Day is different for many people, the day is nowadays celebrated as one of the major celebrations in Canada, and is counted as a statutory holiday throughout the country.
The regions in Canada where the Thanksgiving Day is not counted as statutory holiday include:
Prince Edward Island’s Atlantic Provinces,
History of Defining the Thanksgiving Day
Earlier, the date of Thanksgiving Day was not fixed in Canada. In those days almost all colonels and governors of their respective provinces used to decide their own Thanksgiving Day date for the local residents.
On April 15, 1872 when Prince of Wales recovered from a long and serious illness, the entire Canada celebrated its first official Thanksgiving. As the time passed by (i.e. in late 19th century), the Thanksgiving was being celebrated on November 6 of every year in Canada.
However after the First World War ended, the political parties agreed to celebrate the Thanksgiving Day on some other day. They decided this to avoid any conflicts between the celebrations of the two important days in the history of Canada which were:
1. The day when the First World War ended, and
2. The Thanksgiving Day.
Therefore in the year 1957, the Parliament of Canada proclaimed that the Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated on every 2nd Monday of the month of October each year.
Just like in Canada, in earlier days almost every state in the United States of America used to celebrate the Thanksgiving Day on different days. This continued till the time of Abraham Lincoln. In the year 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally proclaimed the last Thursday of the month of November every year to be celebrated as the Thanksgiving Day in the entire United States of America.
Abraham Lincoln was encouraged to take this decision because of the convincing letters to the politicians of the USA for making the Thanksgiving Day a national holiday of the entire country. These letters were written by an author named Sara Josepha Hela, who kept writing them to the politicians for around 40 years.
Finally on December 26, 1941 the government of United States of America proclaimed the Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated on the 4th Thursday of the month of November every year, instead of being celebrated on the last Thursday of the month of November. This was decided in order to avoid the conflicts and confusion in case the month of November had 5 Thursdays any year.
Generally, turkeys that are specifically prepared for the Thanksgiving have bread-based stuffing, and are roasted. In order to garnish and add taste to the dish, a traditional herb named Sage is added to the stuffing. Along with these, carrots, onions, and some other spices are also used as ingredients to make the meal more delicious.
Pumpkin Pie is one of the famous North American desserts that is mostly liked by the people as a delicious Thanksgiving dish. The presence of Pumpkin Pie in the Thanksgiving celebration represents the great success and blessings in the harvesting season in that year. Pumpkin Pie has custard as its major ingredient, and is garnish and flavored with ginger, clove, etc. to add taste to the dish.
Pumpkin Pie is also a favorite dish in Halloween celebrations.
Since the cranberries were not involved in the grand feast that was celebrated way back in 1621, it has not been able to find its place as the traditional meal even today. It is believed that the cranberries were added to the Thanksgiving meal (not as a traditional meal as mentioned above) in the year 1963. Cranberries are still served along with other traditional meals on the Thanksgiving Day, but they are not counted as a traditional Thanksgiving dish.
Thanksgiving Never Stopped:
It is believed that the Thanksgiving Day was celebrated every year after the day of grand feast which took place way back in 1621. Even though there were many modifications and conflicts between various dates and the months of the Thanksgiving Day, the current celebration day for the Thanksgiving which was proclaimed by Roosevelt is considered to be final till date. Roosevelt proclaimed the current Thanksgiving Day in order to support the Christmas celebration, and to help the economy of the United States of America to improve.
Thanksgiving Day Parade:
Macy’s, which is one of the famous chain store businesses organizes the biggest Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York every year. This custom of Thanksgiving Day Parade started in the year 1924, and has various fascinating attractions such as Balloon Introduction, Happy Dragon, etc.
Apart from the above, some other Thanksgiving Day Parades organized by other parties in different parts of the country include:
· McDonald’s in Chicago
· Belk Carolinas in Charlotte
· K-W Oktoberfest in Waterloo
· America’s Hometown in Plymouth, etc.
Thanksgiving Day Sports Events
Since the Thanksgiving Day is a statutory holiday celebrated all around the United States of America and Canada, many individuals and business parties also organize sports events for entertainment. Such sports events include:
Turkey Bowling, etc.