Thanksgiving Day 2022: History, significance and all you need to know

Thanksgiving Day 2022: History, significance and all you need to know

File photo of the Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. AFP

On the fourth Thursday of November every year, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated. On this festive occasion, friends and families come together to say thanks and recognise the blessings and sacrifices of the past year. It is one of the busiest holidays as people get together and celebrate this day with a lavish meal. This year, the occasion falls on 24 November. The occasion marks the beginning of the holiday season as well. This American festival has many legends and rituals linked to its name. Additionally, a traditional Thanksgiving meal typically consists of potatoes, turkey, bread stuffing, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.

History

The annual celebrations honour the first Thanksgiving feast hosted by the colonists in Massachusetts’ Plymouth, later called the Pilgrims, and the Wampanoag Indians.

On 3 October 1863, President Abraham Lincoln had proclaimed a national day of Thanksgiving to be celebrated in November. The holiday was annually proclaimed by every President after that. However, after Congress’ joint resolution in 1941, President Franklin D Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1942 designating the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day.

With increasing urbanisation, Thanksgiving has become a day when people get together with their friends and family to celebrate the occasion with a scrumptious feast. The holiday has now moved away from its religious roots to allow immigrants from different backgrounds to participate in a common tradition.

Significance

The day recognises the good things that happened in the last year. Turkeys are central to the festivities as the bird is an important part of the traditional feast. Moreover, every President of the United States of America follows certain traditions related to Thanksgiving. They pardon the Thanksgiving turkey on the morning of the festivities.

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