People in the U.S. celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November. It’s a day to be thankful for the good things in our lives.
Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday. Many people have the day off. Schools and some workplaces close on the day after, too. Most people try to spend time with their families.
Most families eat a large meal together. Roast turkey is the most important part of the meal. The turkey is filled with stuffing (also called dressing), a mixture of dry bread and spices. Other traditional Thanksgiving foods are cranberries, pumpkin pie, and sweet potatoes. For many people, Thanksgiving is a day to eat their favorite rich foods, especially if they don’t eat much on other days.
Thanksgiving is based on the fall harvest festivals in Britain. (Many other countries also have these celebrations.) In 1621, settlers in Massachusetts, called Pilgrims, celebrated the harvest of their first crops.
The custom of a fall celebration continued. Each State had its own holiday. In 1863, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln said the last Thursday in November should be a Thanksgiving Day for the whole country.
Is Thanksgiving a religious holiday? Its purpose is to give thanks to God. But it was made a holiday by the President, not by any church. It’s a day when people can thank God in their own ways, if they want.
For many, the main part of the day is the big meal. That’s why Thanksgiving’s slang name is “Turkey Day”.