Q:

Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?

A:

Quick Answer

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States as a national holiday dedicated to being with family and friends to give thanks for all of the blessings received throughout the previous year. The holiday is believed to have been celebrated first in 1621 when the Plymouth settlers enjoyed a fall feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest with the local Wampanoag Indians.

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Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?
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Full Answer

Prior to the event that is believed to be the first Thanksgiving, harvest feasts were practiced in New England, though they did not catch on as a yearly event. According to most historians, the tradition of having these harvest feasts came over to America with the Puritan and Pilgrim settlers from England. During this first feast, the attendees dined on pumpkin, turkey, goose, corn and other items that are now common at Thanksgiving dinners.

As per most historians, the settlers did not intend for this to be a yearly feast when they began it. The tradition of a yearly Thanksgiving feast did not become official until President George Washington declared that the nation would celebrate with a day of Thanksgiving on November 26, 1789. President Abraham Lincoln wrote a proclamation declaring that all states in the union would celebrate the day in 1863. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a resolution from Congress on December 26, 1941 that moved the official date of Thanksgiving from the last Thursday in November to the fourth.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What day is Thanksgiving?

    A:

    Thanksgiving Day is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, so the numerical date is different from year to year. For example, Thanksgiving 2014 falls on Thursday, November 27; Thanksgiving 2015 lands on Thursday, November 26; and, Thanksgiving 2016 falls on Thursday, November 24.

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  • Q:

    When is Thanksgiving?

    A:

    In the United States, Thanksgiving occurs on the fourth Thursday in November and has been celebrated at this time since 1939. Prior to then, Thanksgiving was celebrated on the last Thursday of November.

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  • Q:

    When was the first Thanksgiving celebrated?

    A:

    The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. The meal was a celebration of the Pilgrim's first harvest, and it was shared with the Wampanoag native Americans.

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  • Q:

    Which countries celebrate Thanksgiving?

    A:

    Aside from America, the nations of Liberia and Canada, the Australian territory of Norfolk Island and the unincorporated American territory of Puerto Rico are known to celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday every year. Canada celebrates its Thanksgiving in October, Liberia commemorates this occasion in early November, and Puerto Rico celebrates at the same time as the continental United States.

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