Thanksgiving 2021: When is Thanksgiving? Why is the holiday celebrated in America?
Thanksgiving is a bit of a mystery to those of us outside the US, Canada and some of the Caribbean islands.
Most other people are only exposed to the holiday by watching American TV series.
But millions of people will be gathering around to eat copious amounts of food with their family, and to give thanks.
Thanksgiving is fast approaching, and it traditionally kickstarts the festive period in the US – so what is it all about?
Most people associate Thanksgiving with family dinners involving giant turkeys and pumpkin pie.
But there is an historical meaning behind all the food and celebrations.
When is Thanksgiving Day 2021?
This year Thanksgiving Day falls on Thursday, November 28.
The autumnal holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November each year.
Black Friday, the biggest shopping event of the year, always falls on the Friday after.
Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day?
Americans celebrate Thanksgiving as a way of giving thanks for the annual harvest.
The tradition of giving thanks for the harvest is one of the most ancient traditions in the world, and can be traced back to the beginning of time.
In America the tradition dates back to 1621, when the pilgrims gave thanks for their first harvest in Plymouth Rock.
The pilgrims had settled in Plymouth, just south of where Boston is today, in 1619.
But the conditions were tough, and they experienced a particularly harsh winter, which meant rations were tight.
When the spring arrived the Pilgrims planted and grew crops, and they were helped by a native American called Squanto.
According to legend, Squanto taught the Pilgrims how to hunt, fish and plant.
The Pilgrims were so grateful for their new skills they invited the Native Americans to join them for a massive harvest feast in 1621.
In 1863 Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national day to ask god to bless the family members who had lost loved ones in the Civil War.
He sad this holiday would be held on the last Thursday of November every year.
But the modern day holiday is modelled on the harvest feast.
The date was set in stone by President Franklin D Roosevelt in 1939, and approved by Congress in 1941.
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