The Origins of Thanksgiving
Traditionally, Thanksgiving is a day where friends and families come together to celebrate with a special meal. This meal generally involves a turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, potatoes, pumpkin pie, gravy, and vegetables. Overall though, Thanksgiving, held on the last Thursday of November, is a day that may people pay thanks for everything they have in their lives.
In some cities and towns, Thanksgiving Day parades are held to celebrate this holiday and mark the official opening of the Christmas season. Over Thanksgiving the nation closes down for a 4 day weekend, so it is a popular time for family and friends to take trips.
During this holiday most businesses, government offices, organizations and schools are closed on Thanksgiving Day. During the Thanksgiving holiday many business allow their workers to have the full 4 day weekend so most of the time the businesses are closed over the entire period. Public transit systems generally operate on a different timetable to their regular schedule.
In the USA, Thanksgiving Day is one of the busiest travel periods for families. Because of this airports and roads experience overcrowding and congestion.
Since 1863, Thanksgiving Day in the USA has been an annual holiday for Americans. However, not everyone views Thanksgiving as a day for celebration. Since 1970, a Native American group and their supporters protest each year at an event called a National Day of Mourning at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts on this day. Instead, the year American Indian Heritage Day is observed.
It is claimed that Thanksgiving Day was first held in El Paso, Texas in 1598. In 1619, a Thanksgiving event was held in the colony of Virginia. However the official origins of Thanksgiving are traced back to the Pilgrim’s harvest celebration which was held in Plymouth Massachusetts in 1621.
After this, paying thanks after a harvest became a more popular custom, celebrated by different days and in different places. George Washington, the First US president, proclaimed in 1789 the first official Thanksgiving day.