It’s Thanksgiving Day! What are you thankful for?

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States.

When  American people think of Thanksgiving today, images of football, pumpkin pie, parades, and turkey dinner complete with cranberry sauce come to mind, as well as plans for a Black Friday shopping spree the following day.

They have been giving thanks for the fall harvest and other gifts of nature for many centuries. It is interesting to note that the religious element, giving thanks to God, was not present at this particular celebration in 1621, even though the Pilgrims were devoutly religious. In fact, some early Pilgrim “thanksgiving days” were actually fasts rather than feasts. Imagine that!

However, the Native Americans had their own religious customs and beliefs. As a result, during this “first” Thanksgiving, Pilgrims and Native Americans did not focus on what was different between them, but instead concentrated on what they all shared. The two groups of people worked side by side to hunt and prepare food as equals and friends. Their friendship and cooperation was yet another thing for which to be thankful. Other feasts such as this one took place throughout the New World, where settlers and Native Americans worked together and celebrated together as one.

When people sit down to their Thanksgiving dinner, they honor a piece of early American history. The story of the Pilgrims and Native Americans serves as a good reminder for all of us to be thankful for what we have–no matter how much or how little.

*Texto adaptado de

How Thanksgiving Became a Holiday

After 1621, future Thanksgiving celebrations occurred at various times throughout the year. George Washington declared a feast of Thanksgiving in 1789, and presidents issued similar yearly proclamations after that. During the Civil War, poet Sarah Hale started a campaign to celebrate the holiday on the same day throughout the country.

President Abraham Lincoln saw it as a way to unite the country, and in 1863 he proclaimed a national Thanksgiving celebration on the last Thursday in November. It was changed from the last Thursday to the third Thursday by Franklin

Roosevelt in 1939 as a  way to lengthen the Christmas shopping holiday. In 1941, Roosevelt finally changed the date to the fourth Thursday in November, proclaiming it a Federal holiday in 1941.