Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after is also known as Black Friday.
Is Thanksgiving Day a Public Holiday?
Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.
Thanksgiving Day is a day for people in the US to give thanks for what they have. Families and friends get together for a meal, which traditionally includes a roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie.
In some cities and towns, there are parades during the Thanksgiving weekend. In most areas, these festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season.
US Holiday Since 1863
Thanksgiving Day has been an annual holiday in the United States since 1863. However, not everyone sees Thanksgiving Day as a cause for celebration.
Beginning in 1970, a group of Native Americans and their supporters have staged an annual protest for a National Day of Mourning at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts on Thanksgiving Day. American Indian Heritage Day is also observed at this time of the year.
There are claims that the first Thanksgiving Day was held in the city of El Paso, Texas, in 1598. Another early event was held in 1619 in the Virginia Colony. Many people trace the origins of the modern Thanksgiving Day to the harvest celebration the Pilgrims held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. However, their first true thanksgiving was in 1623, when they gave thanks for rain that ended a drought. These early thanksgivings took the form of a special church service, rather than a feast.
In the second half of the 1600s, thanksgivings after the harvest became more common and started to become annual events. However, they were celebrated on different days in different communities and in some places there were more than one thanksgiving each year. George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789.