Thanksgiving Day - November 27th 2008 / November 26th 2009
Every forth Thursday in November is designated as Thanksgiving Day in the United States. This federal holiday serves as a time to give thanks and express gratitude as well as a remembrance of the Thanksgivings from past particularly the well known celebration of 1621 which included both Plymouth Pilgrims and Massasoit Native Americans. However, this wasn’t deemed Thanksgiving, these same pilgrims wouldn’t have an official Thanksgiving celebration until 1963.
Thanksgiving holidays have been around for centuries, beginning as a celebration of the fall Harvest and as a way of giving thanks long before settlers came to America. Some are surprised to find the first Thanksgiving in the U.S. which actually occurred in 1565 was conducted by the Spaniards when they landed in what is now St. Augustine, Florida. There was also another Thanksgiving prior to the famous 1621 when a group of English settlers had a day of Thanksgiving when they arrived in 1619.
Thanksgiving Days were first official proclaimed by Congress as early as 1777 during the Revolutionary War to mark significant victories. From that time until 1863 various Presidents also proclaimed days of thanksgiving throughout the year but there was no official date. Then in 1863 President Lincoln set an official Thanksgiving Day to take place on the third Thursday of November which has remained the standard since. The tradition of a Thanksgiving feast has also remained until this day. In America Thanksgiving has become the marker of the beginning of the holiday season.