Thanksgiving Day

Like Indians celebrate their harvest with festivals like Akshaya Tritiya, Kanyarkali, Onam, Pongal, Makar Sankranti, Vaisakhi, and Vasant Panchami to name a few – in the west they celebrate Thanksgiving as a day for giving thanks for the blessings of harvest and of the preceding year. The fourth Thursday of November every year marks the day of Thanksgiving in the United States.

The roots of the festival are set in the English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation Era. In the reign of Henry VIII the thanksgiving tradition flourished with giving special thanksgiving religious services. However in United States the root of Thanksgiving has often been a subject of speculation.

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The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly traced back to a celebration that took place in Plymouth (present day Massachusetts), in 1621. In September 1620 a small ship carrying 102 passengers left Plymouth, England in order to seek a new home where people could practice their faith freely. After 66 days of travel they arrived at the tip of Cape Cod.
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A month later they reached Massachusetts Bay where they began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. After a brutal winter, only half of the passengers survived to see the first New England spring. In March 1621 they moved ashore to be greeted by an Abenaki Indian. He helped the pilgrims settle in by helping them learn about cultivation, forming alliances, and educating them about illness and malnutrition. In November 1621, after the Pilgrims’ harvested corn successfully, Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast that lasted 3 days. The day was celebrated to give thanks for a good harvest that the pilgrims experienced. This annual tradition now is celebrated in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States. The festival of Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the ‘Holiday Season’ in their country.
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In American households today the celebration is very different from what it used to be when the Thanksgiving tradition started. The current celebrations revolve around cooking and sharing a [bountiful******bountiful** ➤ (s) given or giving freely ➤ (s) producing in abundance …by ****]( meal with friends and family. A traditional thanksgiving meal includes turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Another part of the celebration includes the thanksgiving parades, volunteering activities, and food drives for the less fortunate.
[![The Thanksgiving Turkey float during the 85th Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York November 24, 2011. The parade, which has been an annual event since 1924, is expected to draw an estimated 3 million spectators and 50 million television viewers, according the retail store. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)](](
The Thanksgiving Turkey float during the 85th Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)