HISTORY AND MEANING OF THANKSGIVING

Kevin Dooley/flickr

Kevin Dooley/flickr

One of the oldest festivals celebrated throughout the history of man is Thanksgiving. There were instances of ancient tribes preparing feasts and making offerings to their gods and seek favor from them. In times of old, the Jews, the Romans and the Greeks also had similar celebrations to the gods and goddesses of harvest.

In the United States, it is believed that Thanksgiving was harvest festival originally held in 1621 by the pilgrims of the Plymouth colony. The pilgrims held a 3-day feast during the first Thanksgiving to celebrate their enormous harvest after they arrived North America.

Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism/flickr

Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism/flickr

Although a national day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by George Washington, the idea of having a national holiday of Thanksgiving was later dismissed by Thomas Jefferson. Later on in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. Again in November 1941, thanksgiving was approved specifically as the fourth Thursday of November by a joint resolution of Congress.

Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving is a day chosen to give thanks to God after the end of the harvest season. It is celebrated at different times and in different ways in various parts of the world. While Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada, it is a holiday in the United States and is observed on the fourth Thursday of the month of November. However, in the United Kingdom, it is not a major festival and it is known as the Harvest festival. On Thanksgiving, family and friends gather together to feast and to celebrate their bountiful harvest, relax and enjoy the company of each other. In a standard Thanksgiving recipe, Turkey is the main item. This day also denotes the unofficial commencement of the winter holiday period.

Andrea Westmoreland/flickr

Andrea Westmoreland/flickr

Although the dates for observing Thanksgiving Day in different parts of the world are different, the celebration in Canada is in most part the same as in the United States. In the UK, Harvest festival is celebrated towards the end of September or October and special services of Thanksgiving are held in churches on that day.
The Jews all over the world observe Sukkot, a celebration of thanksgiving which last for nine days. Thanksgiving Day is observed by the Chinese as Zhong Qui or the festival of the Autumn Moon on the eight months of the Chinese calendar. In India, the festival is known as the Onam.



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