Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated in the United States every year on the fourth Thursday of November, unlike in Canada, where it is celebrated on the second Monday of October. Brazil is also a holiday institutionalized since 1966 through Law 5110, and as in the United States, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

It is a celebration of Christian origin to give thanks for the blessings received during the year, gathering families to prepare and enjoy a hearty dinner with turkey as the main dish.

In North America, Thanksgiving Day dates to the Protestant Reformation and the arrival of the first settlers from England to the United States.

It originated in Plymouth (current state of Massachusetts), in gratitude by the colonists towards the natives of the Wampanoag tribe for having taught them the techniques of growing corn, hunting, and fishing. This allowed the colony community to prosper after famine and disease.

The first Thanksgiving celebration

The Pilgrims had come to the United States in 1620, crossing the Atlantic Ocean to break away from the Church of England, the official church, so they could freely practice their particular brand of Puritanism. Arriving at Plymouth Colony late to farm and lacking fresh food, the Pilgrims suffered a terrible winter in 1620-1621. Half the colony perished from disease. The following spring, the Wampanoag Indians taught the settlers how to grow corn and other native crops, and they also taught the newcomers how to fish and hunt. The Wampanoag Indians had an advanced society that had settled in the region for thousands of years, according to the National Museum of the American Indian.

In the fall of 1621, the pilgrims had much to be thankful for with their bountiful harvests of corn, barley, beans, and squash. The colonists and their Wampanoag benefactors, who brought deer meat for roasting, organized a banquet to express their gratitude for God’s blessings. The pilgrims possibly brought turkey, ducks, and other game animals, shellfish, such as mussels, lobster, and eels, vegetables, grapes, plums, and walnuts.

Some curiosities about Thanksgiving

It is a secular celebration

Thanksgiving Day has a transversal character to all the religions that are practiced in the country. It is celebrated by Christians of all stripes, Jews, Muslims, and even laypeople or atheists. There is no religious ceremony associated with the festival on that day.

Characterized by reunions with relatives

It is the ideal time of the year for family reunions: children mobilize to meet their parents and siblings, and traffic is very heavy in the days leading up to airports and train or bus stations to spend these four days together since Friday usually becomes an unofficial holiday that joins the weekend (the Friday following the celebration is known as “Black Friday”).


Those who do not have a family to turn to gather among friends in what has become known as “Friendsgiving.”

Roasted turkey as the protagonist

The traditional dinner dish consists of a roasted and baked turkey, accompanied by corn, mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes (sweet potato), cranberry sauce, and gravy (gravy made with the juice of the turkey), accompanied by apple pie or pumpkins.

“Pardoning the Thanksgiving Turkey”

Pardoning the turkey is about keeping it from ending up on the White House table. This practice dates to the 1970s, but it was George W. Bush who established it as a tradition. After that, every US president in the White House also pardons a turkey. The practice has taken root, and sometimes pardoned turkeys are even given names and become very popular for a few days.

Parade sponsored by Macy’s:

The Macy’s store has held an annual parade through Manhattan (New York) streets since 1927, with giant balloons and performances by invited musical artists.

Thanksgiving is a national holiday thanks to a woman

It was Sarah Josepha Hale (writer, editor, composer, teacher, and an excellent fighter for women’s rights) who was responsible for the celebration of Thanksgiving being considered a holiday throughout the United States. This was during the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

It’s about sharing and giving

The celebration does not have a religious meaning but has more to do with union, gratitude, and meeting with family and friends. Volunteering is very common during Thanksgiving when communities come together and help the less fortunate.

The spirit of Thanksgiving is… A good celebration of life!

It’s about reminding ourselves that we all have something to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving is a simple reflection of what we have and can be thankful for, whether in a spiritual or material context. It is about being more grateful for the simple things, the family we have close to us, our friends whom we could not see for a long time.

Scroll to Top