Origins of the
Thanksgiving Celebration



Harvest festivals, common in the Western churches since the Middle Ages, have a distinctive American tradition in Thanksgiving Day, on the fourth Thursday in November.

This annual national holiday in the United States, celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. It originated in the autumn of 1621 when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited neighboring Indians to join the Pilgrims for a three-day festival of recreation and feasting in gratitude for the bounty of the season.

By the end of the 19th century, Thanksgiving Day had become an institution throughout New England and was officially proclaimed as a national holiday by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. The traditional feast of turkey and pumpkin pie has since become an indigenous part of the national culture.

Traditionally celebrated on the last Thursday in November, it was changed by act of Congress in 1941 to the fourth Thursday of that month. Canada first adopted Thanksgiving as a national holiday in November 1879, and it is now celebrated annually on the second Monday in October.








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