Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. While perhaps religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.
The date and location of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention. The traditional "first Thanksgiving" is the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States. The celebration became an important part of the American myth by the 1800s. This Thanksgiving, modeled after celebrations that were commonplace in contemporary Europe, is generally regarded as America's first. Elementary school teacher Robyn Gioia has argued that the earliest attested "thanksgiving" celebration in what is now the United States was celebrated by the Spanish on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada. Thanksgiving dinner is held on this day, usually as a gathering of family members and friends
References:^ "Thanksgiving Day". Encyclopædia Britannica. http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/590003/Thanksgiving-Day. Retrieved 2009-11-03.
^ USA Today article reporting research into the purportedly first Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, FL
^ See also NYTimes article of Nov 25, 2008
^ Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Thanksgiving
^ "Dutch town". The World (radio program). http://www.theworld.org/?q=node/22856&answer=true. Retrieved 2008-11-28. "The Pilgrims arrived in Leiden in 1609, after fleeing religious persecution in England. Leiden welcomed them because it needed immigrants to help rebuild its textile industry, which had been devastated by a long revolt against Spain. Here, the Pilgrims were allowed to worship as they wanted, and they even published their arguments calling for the separation of church and state. Jeremy Bangs directs the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum. He says the Pilgrims quickly adopted several Dutch customs, like civil marriage and Thanksgiving."
Observed by Canada, United States
Date 2nd Monday in October (Canada)
4th Thursday in November (U.S.)
2009 date October 12, 2009 (Canada);
November 26, 2009 (U.S.)
2010 date October 11, 2010 (Canada);
November 25, 2010 (U.S.)