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Thanksgiving Day 2023: History, Significance, Celebrations, Traditions, Recipes, and More

Thanksgiving Day 2023

Are you looking to learn about Thanksgiving Day 2023 and its newest celebration updates? Every fourth Thursday of the month in November, Americans from all over the country gather together for a day of feasting and thankfulness. Thanksgiving, a cherished American Federal holiday, falls on the fourth Thursday of November 23rd, 2023.

It’s a time for families to come together, even if apart, with a focus on safety. We’ll also delve into the history of Thanksgiving and honor Sarah Joseph Hale, known as the Godmother of Thanksgiving.

Join us on this informative journey through time as we explore the many facets of Turkey Day in 2023.

Content Highlights
  • Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 23rd, 2023.

  • Families can celebrate together or apart, emphasizing safety and well-being.

  • Explore the history of Thanksgiving, and recognize Sarah Joseph Hale as the “Godmother of Thanksgiving.”

  • The day revolves around food, stories, and generational traditions that bring people together, regardless of cultural backgrounds or beliefs.

When Is Thanksgiving Day in 2023?

thanksgiving day

Thanksgiving Day 2023 will fall on Thursday, November 23rd, in the United States and several other countries that celebrate this day as a secular holiday.

Aspect Information
Holiday Name Thanksgiving
Date Fourth Thursday of November (November 23rd 2023)
Origin Harvest festival, a day of giving thanks
Traditional Food Turkey, potatoes, squash, corn, cranberries, pumpkin pie
Historical Celebrations Days of fasting and thanksgiving by colonists, “first Thanksgiving” in 1621
National Proclamation President George Washington in 1789
Legal Holiday The Holidays Act of 1870 made it a federal holiday
Federal Workers Paid holiday for federal workers in 1885

Date of the Holiday

Thanksgiving in 2023 will be celebrated on Thursday, November 23rd, across the United States. The observance of Thanksgiving Day has been held on the fourth Thursday of every November since 1941 after President Franklin Roosevelt declared it to become an official holiday.

This was a change from previous years, where it had been the last Thursday in November prior to Roosevelt’s executive order. Since then, this date has stuck and is now part of America’s seasonal traditions.

Notable holidays such as Martin Luther King Jr. Day are essentially movable due to their treaties with religious denominations, whereas Thanksgiving remains resilient due to presidential orders put in place almost 80 years ago when first declared by Roosevelt.

Why It Falls on the Fourth Thursday of November

Until 1941, Thanksgiving was celebrated in the United States on the last Thursday of November. This changed when President Franklin Roosevelt declared that beginning in 1942, the holiday would instead be held on the fourth Thursday of each month as part of his New Deal economic policies.

The purpose behind this change was to create an extra week between Thanksgiving and Christmas – a time period people could use for additional holiday shopping and spending throughout the country.

In December 1941, Congress faced opposition to altering the Thanksgiving tradition but ultimately passed legislation, officially marking the day. Since then, Thanksgiving has been celebrated globally with family and friends coming together for special meals or celebrations. These gatherings honor age-old traditions and express gratitude for the harvest and the pilgrims’ landing centuries ago.

History and Significance of Thanksgiving

history of thanksgiving
The First Thanksgiving Day, Plymouth, America 1621

Thanksgiving began as a harvest celebration in the 16th and 17th centuries among European settlers and Native Americans, with traditions continuing to be celebrated throughout North America today.

Origins of the Holiday

The origins of Thanksgiving go back to the colonial Pilgrims’ 1621 harvest meal, known as the “first Thanksgiving.” Celebrated by 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians in October 1621, it lasted for three days.

It began as a celebration of thanksgiving that expressed gratitude towards God after an extended period of hardships had finally been overcome with plentiful food in their new land.

The true story behind this first Thanksgiving is much deeper than just breaking bread together. At its core, it conveys a message of profound appreciation for abundance and deep reflection on what it means to be thankful, values deeply intertwined into the meaning of this holiday.

Evolution Over Time

Thanksgiving has grown and changed significantly over the centuries since it was first introduced in 1621. The original celebration was a harvest feast that included pork, fish, deer, eel, clams, grapes from wild vines, and boiled pumpkins, according to Native American accounts.

This meal marks one of the first shared meals between Pilgrims and Native Americans, also known as Wampanoag community members. Over time, the Thanksgiving Meal has been transformed into a traditional dish that now includes a roasted turkey or ham with mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and vegetables such as green beans and cornbread.

In addition to changing menu items, some traditions have come about due to mythological elements passed down through generations and religious practices added by Christian settlers who arrived during colonial times.

Significance of the Holiday

Thanksgiving is considered to be one of the most important holidays in the US, representing a time for families to come together and give thanks for all that they have. It is often compared to an American version of harvest festivals from other cultures around the world.

Since its beginnings in 1621 when pilgrims invited Wampanoag people to celebrate with them, Thanksgiving has been a day where Americans gather around tables crowded with turkey and other traditional dishes in honor of their blessings.

The holiday also carries cultural significance due to its immense popularity as well as being featured prominently across forms of media such as television shows, films, books, music lyrics, and even advertisements! This helps highlight authenticity, celebrating traditions often revealed through stories passed down since inception.

Significance for Native American Communities

For many Native American communities, Thanksgiving is a reminder of the genocide of millions of Indigenous peoples, as well as the theft of native lands and assault on native culture.

The history and traditions associated with this holiday have been criticized for romanticizing an event linked to colonialism in what is now known as North America. In fact, many Native Americans in New England often question why they should celebrate a holiday rooted in such painful and traumatic circumstances.

The Wampanoag tribe, the indigenous people that met with early European settlers during 1621’s famed three-day feast commonly believed to be the first Thanksgiving, disagrees with its celebration due to its implications related to their displacement from their ancestral homeland centuries ago.

Thanksgiving Day 2023 in the United States

[Video Credits @LearningCanteen]

On November 23, 2023, the United States will celebrate its traditional holiday of Thanksgiving with a feast amongst family and friends.

Quick Facts

Thanksgiving Day 2023 falls on the fourth Thursday, November 23, in the United States. The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621 over a three-day harvest festival with 50 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag Indians from Massachusetts.

It is now recognized as a national holiday in the United States and celebrated all around the world. The purpose of Thanksgiving is to give thanks for all of one’s blessings—both personal and national from the past year.

While celebrations vary, meals usually include turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie (or other traditional desserts).

For more than 400 years since its inception, it has been an important part of American culture, commemorating togetherness through fellowship dinners as well as featuring parades like Macy’s iconic parade held annually since 1924.

Is Thanksgiving a Public Holiday?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States, and as such, it’s widely considered to be a public holiday. Every year, on the fourth Thursday of November, Thanksgiving is celebrated by millions of people across America who come together to give thanks for all their blessings.

Businesses and institutions generally close on this day so that employees can take part in the festivities with their families or loved ones. For many states in America, even those without any special connection to the holiday observe it as a public holiday.

This gives people an opportunity to travel both domestically and internationally due to the long weekend created by Thanksgiving Day each passing year.

Impact on Travel and Retail

As Thanksgiving 2023 nears, the holiday season is expected to bring an increase in travel-related spending and consumer demand. According to research, travel-related spending during this period is anticipated to rise by 12% compared to the previous year.

Additionally, nearly 40% of consumers plan on spending more overall than they did last year’s Thanksgiving holiday season. As a result of these projections, retailers are preparing for a discount-heavy setting in order to entice shoppers this festive period.

Even in the face of economic challenges and reduced peak season orders in retail, the importance of family and the anticipation of holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas remain strong. Despite the hurdles posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, around 70% of people view these occasions as critical for family bonding.

They still expect to engage in gift-giving and shopping, with each person likely spending over $50. This reflects the enduring significance of these holidays as opportunities to connect with loved ones and share in the spirit of giving.

Family Celebration

thanksgiving day family celebration

Thanksgiving Day is an opportunity for families to come together and celebrate in their own special way – making memories that last a lifetime. Read on to learn more about holiday celebrations!

How Families Celebrate Thanksgiving Together

Thanksgiving Day in 2023 is a big day for many families, and preparations usually begin the week beforehand. Families will gather together to enjoy the traditional feast while also engaging in various activities – both old and new – that can make this holiday extra special.

While Thanksgiving is celebrated in the U.S. and Canada, other countries also observe their own unique holidays around this same time of year. In Germany, for instance, they celebrate Erntedankfest or Harvest Thanksgiving on the first Sunday of October, including prayer services and open-air festivals with traditional foods such as harvest loaves and cakes baked from new wheat flour made with freshly harvested grains.

Here is a table summarizing Thanksgiving celebrations around the world:

Country Holiday Name Date Key Traditions
United States & Canada Thanksgiving 4th Thursday of November Family meals, turkey, parades, football
Liberia Thanksgiving First Thursday of November Church services, family feasts, music, dancing
Grenada Grenada Independence Day (Thanksgiving Day) October 25th Community meals, parades, cultural programs
Germany Erntedankfest First Sunday of October Churches decorated with crops, praying, processions
Japan Labor Thanksgiving Day November 23 Special meals, visiting hometowns
Korea Chuseok 15th day of 8th lunar month Ancestor memorials, family tomb visits, folk games
Rwanda Umuganura First Friday of August National speech, torch lighting, family meals, sports
Czech Republic Czech Thanksgiving Day First Saturday of October Church ceremonies with harvest decorations, community feasts, sports
India Pongal Mid-January Home and kolam decoration, offering food to Sun God
Sri Lanka Thai Pongal Mid-January Cooking and sharing milk rice, cultural performances
United Kingdom Thanksgiving Late November (informally) Some church services, meals, and events among expatriates

Table: Thanksgiving Celebrations Around the World

Traditional foods play an important part in the celebration, with recipes often passed down through generations. Everyone gets involved in food prep, so there’s lots of laughter as well as taste-testing! In addition to preparing folk favorites like roast turkey or pumpkin pie, some folks like to create new dishes for added variety.

Sharing traditions plays a crucial role in family Thanksgiving celebrations. Each family has its distinct way of marking the day. This could involve reading a special story before enjoying the Thanksgiving dinner, writing heartfelt letters expressing gratitude, or gathering around the TV to watch sports after the meal.

Moreover, Thanksgiving serves as a unifying occasion, bringing together friends and relatives from various distances and offering an opportunity to reconnect and celebrate moments that might have been missed throughout the year.

Rituals and Traditions

Thanksgiving is a holiday steeped in tradition and culture, as many rituals are done not only to celebrate but also to remember its origins. Celebrations involve traditional foods that usually include turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and more.

Families often involve everyone in the food preparations, such as setting up appetizers or helping with cooking tasks like basting the turkey or making gravy.

Starting a journal can be another tradition that gets passed around during Thanksgiving, allowing everyone to share their thoughts and memories. Volunteering for local charities on this day is also becoming an increasingly popular way of giving thanks for what one has by donating time or resources to those in need within the community.

Personalizing the table can add special touches, which makes it unique – using creatively made centerpieces with personal items put together by each member of the family illustrates how special this celebration truly is.

Recipes and Dishes Typically Served

Thanksgiving Day is a time for families to gather together and give thanks over a traditional turkey dinner. Although every family has their own unique traditions, some recipes have become staples of the holiday meal.

The Thanksgiving feast usually starts with an oven-roasted turkey, served with stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce as classic side dishes.

Country Dishes
United States and Canada Roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, pecan or pumpkin pie
Liberia Jollof rice, cassava greens, palm butter sauce, fried plantains
Grenada Oil down stew, curry goat, roti skin/hops bread, sweet potato pudding
Germany Roast goose, pumpkin tarts, sweet bread and pastries, beet salad, cheesecake
Korea Songpyeon, bulgogi, galbijjim, pancakes, Korean sweet potato
Czech Republic Roast duck/goose, pork with sauerkraut, potato salad, kolaches, baked apples
India Pongal, vegetable curry, chutney, payasam, laddus
Sri Lanka Milk rice, chicken/mutton curry, wattalappam, oil cakes
Rwanda Grilled meats, ugali, imboga, matoke
Japan Turkey/fried chicken, chestnut rice, mashed potatoes, salad, pumpkin pie
United Kingdom Roast turkey, stuffing, roast potatoes, pigs in blankets, mince pies

Table: Thanksgiving Day Popular Recipes Around the World

A variety of salads and condiments are typically added to this meal, such as coleslaw and green beans, in addition to pumpkin pie and other desserts. Recipes can vary greatly depending on regional traditions – there may be delicious additions like venison or goose instead of turkey, seafood dishes such as oysters or lobster, or vegetarian entrées created from squash or mushrooms.

How to Celebrate Thanksgiving

how to celebrate thanksgiving

Whether you are planning a family gathering or preparing for more personal reflection, there are many ways to celebrate Thanksgiving Day in 2023.

Traditional Thanksgiving Dinner and Recipes

A traditional Thanksgiving dinner in the United States features a menu of festive favorites, including grilled turkey, green beans almondine, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, cornbread muffins or rolls, sweet potato casserole topped with marshmallows, and more.

The feast is often rounded out with tasty desserts such as pumpkin pie or pecan pie. Preparing the meal can be a daunting task if you’re hosting for many people. To make it easier on yourself while still serving up an enjoyable feast to your family and friends on Thanksgiving Day 2023, be sure to plan ahead! Start by making a shopping list weeks in advance that includes all the ingredients you’ll need for your selected recipes.

For traditional dinners comprising the typical dishes mentioned above that will serve around 10-12 people, different dishes need to be prepared! Break down these into categories like mains, side disks, etc., after which you should start assigning who will prepare each dish based on interests and availability within your family unit.

Remember that some of these dishes may require quite an effort, so prepare accordingly and consider doubling recipes even when it’s unnecessary just to avoid seeing leftovers go to waste after everyone’s enjoyed their fill at dinner time.

Volunteering Opportunities

During Thanksgiving 2023, there are various volunteering opportunities for individuals and families to give back to their communities. One of the most popular ways in which people can volunteer is by serving hot meals at a soup kitchen or helping at a food bank.

Nonprofit organizations such as Feeding America offer volunteer opportunities at soup kitchens, food pantries, or food banks during the Thanksgiving season. This helps provide access to healthy meals for those in need during this holiday time.

Opportunities such as packing boxes with donated items or helping organize donations are also available during this time. Families and groups can participate in projects together that contribute positively to their local community and show gratitude – an act fitting the celebration of Thanksgiving itself!

Other activities could include holiday meal preparation in local shelters and offering transportation assistance for senior citizens so that they may join family ceremonies on this day, even if mobility is limited due to age.

Starting New Family Traditions

For many families, Thanksgiving Day is filled with lifelong traditions that often bring back fond memories year after year. However, every family has a unique story, and new holiday memories are always being made.

This makes it the perfect time to start fresh family traditions on this special day each year. Starting fun new activities as part of your Thanksgiving celebrations can help strengthen familial bonds and provide an opportunity for everyone in the family to have meaningful conversations.

This encourages joyous engagement among all members regardless of age or background and creates lasting connections while having a good time together!

From creating strong seasonal dishes to singing traditional songs with others in attendance, there are plenty of exciting traditions that families can explore during their get-togethers.

Embracing creativity during Thanksgiving can add a special touch to the holiday. You could try learning or re-learning the choreography of a classic dance number for some lively fun. Alternatively, reinvent the rules of board games like Monopoly and Scrabble, making family time even more enjoyable. Engaging in arts and crafts projects using old supplies and natural elements like leaves collected from outside can spark creativity and create cherished mementos to decorate your home.

Additionally, consider giving back to the community by participating in local charity events, as many organizations organize fundraisers for food banks, benefiting from the generosity of patrons during this festive time.

50 Best Thanksgiving 2023 Celebration Ideas

Here are 50 ideas for celebrating Thanksgiving in 2023:

  1. Host a potluck dinner and ask everyone to bring a dish to share. It’s a great way to try new recipes and reduce the workload.
  2. Have everyone come over early to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade together. Make mimosas or hot apple cider.
  3. Do a “Recipes of Thanks” activity – have each guest bring a family recipe and the story behind it to share before dinner.
  4. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or shelter early in the day before your own celebration. Give back while spending time together.
  5. Go around the table and have everyone share something or someone they are thankful for this year.
  6. Host an afternoon game tournament with classic games like Scrabble, checkers, dominoes or card games. Hand out silly prizes.
  7. Take a long nature walk together to enjoy the fall weather and work up an appetite.
  8. Ask guests to bring non-perishable items to donate to a local food bank.
  9. Serve hot mulled cider alongside pumpkin pie and apple tarts for dessert.
  10. Prep festive fall crafts to work on before or after the meal, like leaf rubbings or cornucopia centerpieces.
  11. Screen a classic Thanksgiving film like “Planes, Trains and Automobiles.”
  12. Divide into teams for a Turkey Day trivia game, with the winning team getting first dibs on leftovers.
  13. Enjoy fun seasonal music by making a Thanksgiving hits playlist. Themes could include gratitude, food, or cozy vibes.
  14. Host guests for the whole weekend instead of just one meal. Plan other activities like touch football, leaf pile jumping or board games.
  15. Take turns sharing family stories, traditions and favorite Thanksgiving memories from over the years. Document them to look back on.
  16. Ask each person to share who or what they are thankful for with a personalized place card at their spot at the table.
  17. Take silly selfies in Thanksgiving hats or posing with autumn gourds. Print out photos from the day to send as mementos.
  18. Enjoy an autumn-inspired craft beer, hot spiced wine or cocktail before the meal. Experiment with fall flavors.
  19. Have guests announce what they are thankful for before rolling a pumpkin pie-scented dice to see who goes next in the sharing circle.
  20. Write thankful notes to leave under each person’s plate for them to discover when they sit down to eat.
  21. For kids – play a game of pumpkin bowling or race-dried corn kernels with plastic spoon catapults outdoors before eating.
  22. Serve your meal as a buffet so people can customize their plates and go back for seconds of their favorites.
  23. Let kids make handprint turkeys and other Thanksgiving crafts while the adults catch up. Display them as DIY decorations.
  24. Serve wing-themed appetizers and snacks while watching football before the big meal, like fried chicken wings and veggies with blue cheese and ranch dips.
  25. Take an afternoon nap or rest after the big meal, then reconvene later for desserts, snacks, games and conversation by cozy firelight.
  26. Looking for a smaller gathering? Host friends for a Friendsgiving feast instead of just family. Or invite someone new who will be alone for the holiday.
  27. For dessert, serve mini pumpkin, pecan and apple pies in mason jars that guests can take home – complete with whipped cream and toppings on the side.
  28. Take a drive to admire neighborhood holiday light displays after dark once dinner has settled. Make this walk or drive a new family tradition.
  29. Serve up a build-your-own hot cider bar with Assorted juices, spices, citrus slices, bourbon, rum, whipped cream and other toppings so everyone can customize their drink.
  30. Play corn hole, bocce ball or croquet in the yard before gathering around to eat. Get some fresh air and enjoy the weather as you work up an appetite.
  31. Host a living room karaoke session – Thanksgiving edition. Give thanks and praise through song!
  32. For young children, set up arts and crafts like handprint turkeys, gratitude wreaths or table centerpieces to keep them occupied in between meal activities.
  33. Start your own Thanksgiving Day run/walk event with family and friends. Exercise first thing, then indulge later.
  34. Divide up classic Thanksgiving dishes and ask each guest to assign themselves one dish to contribute. That way, everyone helps prepare the meal.
  35. Serve spiked apple cider mimosas or sparkling cranberry punch cocktails to kick off an afternoon of festivities.
  36. Ask everyone to wear a homemade paper Pilgrim or Native American hat or headband during the meal. Hand out colored paper and art supplies earlier for making them!
  37. Instead of offering a traditional sit-down dinner, host a Thanksgiving brunch buffet with quiche, baked French toast casserole, pastries, fruit salad, bacon, etc so people can nibble all afternoon.
  38. Play old vintage Thanksgiving TV commercials and movie clips as humorous conversation starters during dinner. Nostalgic fun!
  39. Plan an autumn leaf nature scavenger hunt for little kids. See who can collect the most beautiful leaf examples, pinecones etc. Then, use their findings to decorate a holiday nature tablescape.
  40. Serve pumpkin bread or muffins baked in orange baking cups that guests can take home. Jewel tones add some autumn magic.
  41. Ask everyone to dress up as pilgrims and native americans. Take fun group photos to remember the occasion.
  42. Play autumnal music like cool jazz, folk tunes and mood-setting instrumentals during appetizers and dinner. Look for nature themes.
  43. Serve turkey dinner buffet style so people can refill plates. Add mini dessert shooters on a tiered platter-handled tray for easy one-handed treat sampling.
  44. Kids can trace their hands on paper fall leaves. Take turns sharing aloud something they will do in the next year to help others – their Thanksgiving hand pledge.
  45. Giveaway mini gourds and pumpkins as holiday keepsakes. Autumn decor that also spreads holiday happiness.
  46. Display old family Thanksgiving photos and recorded video memories on your TV via streaming apps and services. Reminisce together over memories of holidays past.
  47. Have everyone write and share a short Thanksgiving blessing or toast before the meal. Keep them in a gratitude journal or memory book.
  48. Host a pie-baking contest the day before Thanksgiving. neighbor treats and votes for favorites to win silly prizes. Share extras at dinner.
  49. Take goofy annual family photos in pilgrim hats or with other holiday props. See the silly faces and poses you can capture year after year.
  50. Serve pumpkin whoopie pies, spiced cake shooters and apple cider donut holes for finger-friendly portable desserts that make mingling easy.

Reflection and Gratitude

During the Thanksgiving celebration, there is one underrated activity that makes a substantial contribution to our emotional and mental healthcare: reflection and gratitude. Practicing self-reflection allows us to appreciate every accomplishment we have made in life as well as look ahead to what lies beyond present obstacles.

Reflection helps put things in perspective and ease any confusion or doubt in difficult times.

Likewise, being grateful for whatever good fortune comes your way can be a huge mood booster during stressful times. Giving thanks provides us with a sense of contentment when hardship may be all around, but it also creates an environment of thankfulness, which further encourages others by setting an example of hope.

Gratitude has real psychological power – studies linking happiness levels and appreciation show that thankful people are often richer emotionally than those who take things more for granted.

Celebrations Across the US

Saturday parades, football games with family and friends, and large gatherings of loved ones for a Thanksgiving meal are among the many cherished traditions celebrated across America every November.

Each region and community has its own distinct rituals they include in their celebrations that reflect the values inherent to local culture. In New England towns, turkeys often adorn porches during Thanksgiving while states like Massachusetts typically celebrate by hosting a 20-mile race called Tinker’s Trail Footrace or attending performances at Brookfield’s Yankee sidewalk sale.

The East Coast is also famously known for its massive Macy’s parade. Further south, cities such as Charleston rely on seafood dishes to mark this holiday, with crab cakes being one of the most traditional entrées served around this time of year.

The Legacy of Sarah Josepha Hale, the “Godmother of Thanksgiving”

Sarah Josepha Hale dedicated her life to making Thanksgiving a National holiday and is considered the ‘Godmother of Thanksgiving’. Discover more about her extraordinary story and what this legacy means for Native American communities.

Her Efforts to Make Thanksgiving a National Holiday

Sarah Josepha Hale, often referred to as the “Godmother of Thanksgiving,” was responsible for making the holiday into what it is today. She advocated through her writing and lobbying for the inaugural National Thanksgiving Day in 1863.

Through her magazine-editorial campaigns, she was able to successfully sway President Abraham Lincoln’s opinion, who proclaimed a nationwide celebration on November 26th that year. Believing in its potential to bring families together and unite Americans under stronger ties of identity, Hale worked closely with state governors to launch various celebrations across different states.

As much as effort she made towards establishing Thanksgiving as an annual national event, many of those attempts culminated when Lincoln issued his historic proclamation announcing such an occasion every fourth Thursday of November each year.

Her Impact on American Culture

Sarah Josepha Hale is the woman behind Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday in America. After persuading President Abraham Lincoln to declare it a national holiday in 1863, her efforts resulted in people from all walks of life sharing the gratitude she believed was so important.

Hale’s advocacy for Thanksgiving has been felt across American culture, as millions celebrate together each year. She wrote countless articles and books advocating for Thanksgiving as a day to express appreciation – whether it be to God or just simply enjoying some delicious food with loved ones.

Every year, families gather around tables adorned with classic dishes that are now part of our national heritage thanks to the work done by this prim 19th-century author and advocate for women’s education.

The Controversy Surrounding Thanksgiving

[Video Credits @TeenVogue]

Examining the holiday’s origins and how it is criticized by some, its allies, as well as efforts to reclaim the celebration. Discover more about these topics and their implications for Thanksgiving Day 2023!

Criticisms of Its Historical Origins

The origin story of Thanksgiving has sparked much controversy and criticism, particularly from the Native American community. Historically, it is believed that the first celebration of Thanksgiving in Plymouth was a three-day feast between Pilgrims and Wampanoag tribal members to celebrate a successful harvest.

The reality, however, paints a darker picture; recent evidence suggests that many of the Native Americans at this gathering were forced into attendance due to fear or coercive tactics used by English settlers.

Furthermore, this feast set in motion centuries of land theft, killings, and diseases, which ultimately led to their displacement from what is now known as New England. To make matters worse for native people’s communities, today marks a reminder not only of how far they have come since 1621 but also of an incredibly painful legacy still being suffered by millions worldwide today.

Efforts to Reclaim the Holiday

In modern society, there is a growing desire to acknowledge the true history and meaning of Thanksgiving. This often means reevaluating its legacy as well as addressing the historical controversy surrounding the holiday.

For many Native Americans, Thanksgiving has become entangled with feelings of pain and alienation due to colonization and centuries of subjugation. In recent years, this has led to conversations about how best to recognize and honor Indigenous communities during celebrations.

Some seek out ways to include indigenous cultures in activities such as traditional meals or musical performances that reflect their heritage or offer an outlet for intercultural dialogue on shared experiences between two distinct peoples.

Various organizations have also devised special projects that are focused on reclaiming entertaining aspects of American culture while understanding its broader implications in terms of history and respect for differing beliefs regarding tradition and celebration.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Now, let’s explore some frequently asked questions related to Thanksgiving Day.

1. What is Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated in various places around the world to commemorate and give thanks for blessings, plentiful harvests, national pride or identity, and other aspects that are seen as important gifts.

2. What is Thanksgiving in the Bible?

The Bible does not mention any specific celebration called “Thanksgiving.” However, the concept of giving thanks to God and celebrating blessings is common throughout the Bible.

3. Why do we eat turkey on Thanksgiving?

Turkey has become a traditional Thanksgiving dish because it was one of the foods the Pilgrims and Native Americans ate on the first Thanksgiving.

4. How did Jesus show thanksgiving?

Prior to major events in Jesus’s life and ministry, the Bible records Him giving thanks to God the Father. Here are some examples:

  1. Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish – Jesus took the five loaves and two fish, “and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke them” (Luke 9:16). He was thankful for God’s provision.
  2. Last Supper – “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples” (Mark 14:22). He gave thanks before breaking the Passover bread.
  3. Resurrection of Lazarus – “So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, ‘Father, I thank you that you have heard me'” (John 11:41). Jesus thanked the Father beforehand for hearing His prayer.
  4. Jesus Prays for the Father to Glorify Him – “Father, I thank you for having heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here” (John 11:41-42). Even in his humanity, Jesus thanked God the Father.

5. Is Thanksgiving only celebrated in the United States?

Thanksgiving is mainly celebrated in the U.S., but Canada also has a similar holiday. Other countries have different ways of giving thanks.


Thanksgiving Day is an important holiday in the United States and Canada, celebrated annually on the fourth Thursday of November. As a national holiday, Thanksgiving strongly reflects themes of gratitude and family togetherness.

It has been observed for centuries as a time to express appreciation for life’s blessings from the past year.

It is also important to remember that while Thanksgiving has historically positive aspects, such as bringing friends and families closer together, it does have a complicated origin story that should not be overlooked.

The modern-day celebration is rooted in Native American history, but generations of colonization meant their experiences were generally associated with hardship and struggle rather than Thanksgiving.

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