Thanksgiving Day in the USA Date in the current year: November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Day in the USA Thanksgiving Day is one of the most important holidays in the United States. It was established as a federal holiday in 1863 and has been celebrated every year since then. Thanksgiving is observed on the fourth Thursday in November.

The history of Thanksgiving is typically associated with Plymouth Colony founded by the English immigrants who arrived aboard the Mayflower in 1620. Their first winter in the New World was very harsh, nearly half the settlers died. However, the pilgrims did manage to develop the colony and grow crops. In November 1621, they celebrated the harvest feast which is now referred to as “The First Thanksgiving”.

The 52 surviving pilgrims invited 90 Native Americans as guests to show their gratitude as they had taught the pilgrims how to grow corn and catch eel as well as had shared their food during the harsh winter. The celebration which was first referred to as Thanksgiving was held in 1623.

The Continental Congress first proclaimed Thanksgiving Day in 1777. However, Thanksgiving Day has been observed regularly since 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed it to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November. In 1949, the date was moved to the fourth Thursday in November.

Modern Thanksgiving is a family holiday. For many people, it is the only day of the year when all members of an extended family can gather together. The best known holiday tradition is Thanksgiving dinner that includes foods native to the New World.

Roasted or baked turkey is usually the centerpiece of Thanksgiving table. Other foods traditionally served on this day include cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, fried veggies, sweet corn, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. Many families begin the Thanksgiving meal by saying grace.

Events held on Thanksgiving Day include holiday parades (the largest being the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City), Thanksgiving Day football games, television specials. Shortly before the holiday, the ceremony of National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation takes place at the White House.

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