- Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November in the United States. Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada.
- By the fall of 1621 only half of the pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to give a thanksgiving feast. The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving.
- The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, had organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621 and invited the neighbouring Wampanoag Indians also to the feast.
- The first Thanksgiving feast was held in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag and it lasted three days.
- President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in the year 1789 and again in 1795.
- Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with Ladies’ Magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827. Due to her efforts, in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer.
- Abraham Lincoln issued a “Thanksgiving Proclamation” on third October 3, 1863, and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. Before President Lincoln made this happen, each president used to make an annual proclamation to specify the day when Thanksgiving was to be held.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored Thursday before last of November as Thanksgiving Day in the year 1939. He did so to make the Christmas shopping season longer which would stimulate the economy.
- Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that Thanksgiving would be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
- Traditional foods like turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie are served by many on Thanksgiving Day.
The presidential pardon of a turkey: Each year, the president of the U.S pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. The first turkey pardon ceremony started with President Truman in 1947. President Obama pardoned a 45-pound turkey named Courage, who has flown to Disneyland and served as Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day parade!
How did the tradition of watching football on Thanksgiving start? The NFL started the Thanksgiving Classic games in 1920 and since then the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on Turkey Day. In 2006, a third game was added with different teams hosting.