Thanksgiving Day


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Thanksgiving Day,

national holiday in the United States commemorating the PilgrimsPilgrims,
in American history, the group of separatists and other individuals who were the founders of Plymouth Colony. The name Pilgrim Fathers is given to those members who made the first crossing on the Mayflower.
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' celebration of the harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony in 1621, after a winter of great starvation and privation. The celebration was probably held in October. The neighboring Wampanoags, who outnumbered the colonists, joined them for three days and contributed food to the celebration. The first proclaimed day of thanksgiving in the colony was not held until 1623 (probably at the end of July), following an improvement in prospects for the still struggling colony, and was a day of prayer, not feasting.

After the American Revolution the first national Thanksgiving Day, proclaimed by President George Washington, was Nov. 26, 1789, and the Episcopal Church began celebrating an annual day of thanksgiving on the first Thursday in November. Some states established an annual Thanksgiving Day, but there was no annual national holiday until President Abraham Lincoln, urged by Sarah J. HaleHale, Edward Everett,
1822–1909, American author and Unitarian clergyman, b. Boston, grad. Harvard, 1839. He was the nephew of Edward Everett. The pastor of a church in Worcester, Mass.
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, proclaimed one in 1863, appointing as the date the last Thursday of November. Although the only known contemporary account of the 1621 Plymouth harvest celebration had been rediscovered in 1841, the national Thanksgiving Day initially was not officially linked to it.

In 1939, 1940, and 1941 President Franklin D. Roosevelt proclaimed Thanksgiving the next-to-last Thursday in November. Conflicts arose between Roosevelt's proclamation and about half of those of state governors, and in 1941 Congress passed a joint resolution decreeing that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November. The day is observed by church services and family reunions; the customary turkey dinner is a reminder of the wildfowl served at the Pilgrims' celebration. Canadians also celebrate a national Thanksgiving Day, on the second Monday in October; prior to 1957 it was on the last Monday of the month.

Thanksgiving Day

American holiday celebrating abundant harvest; originally observed by Pilgrims (1621). [Am. Culture: NCE, 2726]

Thanksgiving Day

American holiday acknowledging God’s favor. [Am. Culture: Brewer Dictionary, 1071]

Thanksgiving Day

an annual day of holiday celebrated in thanksgiving to God on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and on the second Monday of October in Canada
References in periodicals archive ?
Everyone on both the Neighbors Helping Neighbors list and names submitted by Des Plaines churches were called to confirm they would be home on Thanksgiving Day and enjoyed having a cooked meal delivered.
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Hundreds of people are scheduled to take part in the 47th National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Mass., on Thanksgiving Day. Others will commemorate the sad day in other ways, the Globe reports.
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An NRF survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics found that nearly 45 million shoppers visited stores on Thanksgiving Day, a 12% increase over last year, and more than 92 million people shopped on Black Friday, up from about 89 million last year.