Thanksgiving Day 2023: Thanksgiving Day, a cherished tradition in the United States, unfolds on the fourth Thursday of November each year. This occasion brings families and friends together to express gratitude for diverse blessings. Tracing its roots back to the early 17th century, the history of Thanksgiving is a fascinating narrative that culminates in a modern-day celebration of unity, feasting, and gratitude.
In 1621, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast, marking one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations. Over the centuries, individual colonies and states celebrated days of thanksgiving. It wasn't until 1863, amid the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be observed each November.
New York became the first state to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday in 1817. In 1863, amid the Civil War, President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving as a day of national observance. Over time, the date shifted, with President Franklin D. Roosevelt settling it as the fourth Thursday in November in 1941.
Today, Thanksgiving has evolved beyond its religious origins to center around shared meals and expressions of gratitude. While the original feast may not have included turkey, it has become an iconic part of the modern celebration. According to the National Turkey Federation, nearly 90 percent of Americans partake in this Thanksgiving tradition. The menu typically features not only turkey but also stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. A heartwarming Thanksgiving tradition involves volunteering to ensure everyone, including the less fortunate, enjoys a bountiful meal on this special day.
Thanksgiving is not complete without the iconic parades. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, dating back to 1924, stands out as the largest and most famous, captivating millions of spectators and television viewers alike. Another heartwarming tradition involves the President pardoning one or two Thanksgiving turkeys, sparing them from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement.