Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day, is a traditional North American holiday , which is a form of harvest festival . The date and whereabouts of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention, though the earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8 , 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida .Despite scholarly research to the contrary, the traditional "first Thanksgiving" is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation , in 1621
Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States . Thanksgiving dinner is done in the evening, usually as a gathering of friends and/or family. At this time you say all your thanks and wishes
The first recorded Thanksgiving ceremony took place on September 8, 1565, when 600 Spanish settlers, under the leadership of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés , landed at what is now St. Augustine , Florida , and immediately held a Mass of Thanksgiving for their safe delivery to the New World; there followed a feast and celebration. As the La Florida colony did become part of the United States, this can be classified as the first Thanksgiving. [
El Paso , Texas , has also been said to be the site of the first Thanksgiving to be held in what is now known as the United States, though that was not a harvest festival. Spaniard Don Juan de Oñate ordered his expedition party to rest and conducted a mass in celebration of thanksgiving on April 30 , 1598 .
In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. First and foremost, baked or roasted turkey is usually the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table (so much so that Thanksgiving is sometimes referred to as "Turkey Day"). Stuffing , mashed potatoes with gravy , sweet potatoes , cranberry sauce , sweet corn , other fall vegetables , and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. All of these primary dishes are actually native to the Americas or were introduced as a new food source to the Europeans when they arrived.
The tradition of giving thanks to God is continued today in various forms. Religious and spiritual organizations offer services and events on Thanksgiving themes the week-end before, the day of, or the week-end after Thanksgiving. Bishop Ryan observed about Thanksgiving Day, "It is the only day we have that consistently finds Catholics at Mass in extraordinary numbers...even though it is not a holy day of obligation.
On Thanksgiving Day, families and friends usually gather for a large meal or dinner, the result being that the Thanksgiving holiday weekend is one of the busiest travel periods of the year. In the United States, Thanksgiving is a four-day or five-day weekend vacation in school and college calendars. Most business and government workers (78% in 2007) are also given both Thanksgiving and the day after as paid holidays. Thanksgiving Eve, on the Wednesday night before, has been one of the busiest nights of the year for bars and clubs, both in terms of sales and volume of patrons, as many students have returned to their hometowns from college.
Television and radio
While not as prolific as Christmas specials , which usually begin right after Thanksgiving, there are many special television programs that air on or around Thanksgiving.