Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. It originated as a day of thanksgiving and harvest festival, with the theme of the holiday revolving around giving thanks and the centerpiece of Thanksgiving celebrations remaining a Thanksgiving dinner. The dinner traditionally consists of foods and dishes indigenous to the Americas, namely turkey, potatoes (usually mashed or sweet), stuffing, squash, corn , green beans, cranberries (typically in sauce form), and pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, with a proclamation by President George Washington after a request by Congress.

Thanksgiving messages for friends

  •  Gratitude fills my heart when I think of you. Thank you for your amazing friendship!
  •  Friends like you demonstrate the meaning of Thanksgiving. Enjoy a wonderful holiday!
  •  Reflecting on our friendship makes me truly thankful. Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
  • The value of your friendship is immeasurable. Prayers for a safe and happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving in the United States has been observed on differing dates. From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date of observance varied from state to state. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century, coinciding with, and eventually superseding the holiday of Evacuation Day (commemorating the day the British exited the United States after the Revolutionary War). Modern Thanksgiving was proclaimed for all states in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for approximately 40 years advocating an official holiday, Lincoln set national Thanksgiving by proclamation for the final Thursday in November in celebration of the bounties that had continued to fall on the Union and for the military successes in the war, also calling on the American people, “with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience .. fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty hand to heal the wounds of the nation…”Because of the ongoing Civil War, a nationwide Thanksgiving celebration was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.

Traditional celebrations and solemnities

Charity:

The poor are often provided with food at Thanksgiving time. Most communities have annual food drives that collect non-perishable packaged and canned foods, and corporations sponsor charitable distributions of staple foods and Thanksgiving dinners. The Salvation Army enlists volunteers to serve Thanksgiving dinners to hundreds of people in different locales. Additionally, pegged to be five days after Thanksgiving is Giving Tuesday, a celebration of charitable giving.

Foods of the season:

The centerpiece of most Thanksgiving celebrations is the Thanksgiving dinner.

Turkey, usually roasted and stuffed (but sometimes deep-fried instead), is typically the featured item on most Thanksgiving feast tables. 40 million turkeys were consumed on Thanksgiving Day alone in 2019. With 85 percent of Americans partaking in the meal, an estimated 276 million Americans dine on the festive poultry, spending an expected $1.05 billion on turkeys for Thanksgiving in 2016.

Giving thanks:

Thanksgiving was founded as a religious observance for all the members of the community to give thanks to God for a common purpose. A 1541 thanksgiving mass was held by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado and his expedition of 1,500 men at Palo Duro Canyon in what is today the Texas Panhandle. A thanksgiving took place after the victory in the 1777 Battle of Saratoga during the Revolutionary War. In his 1789 National Thanksgiving Proclamation, President Washington gave many noble reasons for a national Thanksgiving, including “for the civil and religious liberty”, for “useful knowledge”, and for God’s “kind care” and “His Providence”.After President Washington delivered this message, the “Episcopal Church, of which President Washington was a member, announced that the first Thursday in November would become its regular day for giving thanks”.