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Thanksgiving Day


The First Thanksgiving 1621, by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris (1899).

I’ve posted about Thanksgiving Day for the past two years, when I’ve been doing my bit for #NaBloPoMo, and wasn’t intending to do it again this year. But as my blog follower numbers have doubled since last year and many of these new followers are from the US, I thought I should repeat myself for newer readers, to wish you well on your big day.

It’s probably because I watch too many American TV shows, many of which – like NCIS – have had Thanksgiving specials, but I’ve always thought of Thanksgiving Day as being something celebrated only in the USA. I was a little surprised, therefore, to find both that is celebrated in several countries and that its roots actually go back to post-Reformation England, no doubt prompted by the Pilgrim Fathers’ journey across the pond on the Mayflower. This is in no way to deny the day its American roots, though – it seems that celebrations have taken place in some places there since the late 16th century. I’ll admit to having to do a little research on this, as what I knew about it could have been written on a postage stamp and still left room for my signature.

Basically, the day is to give thanks for a good harvest, before the onset of winter. In the UK this is very much a church thing, with Harvest Festival services in late September, but these have not developed into a fully blown day of celebration – we in the UK are not blessed with a bounty of public holidays! It was first set in statute in the USA in 1861, and has been celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November since President Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress to that effect, in 1941. It is a major holiday in the US, not just the commercial aspects but as a day of family celebration.


Macy’s famous Thanksgiving Day parade

imageTurkey is the traditional meal for Thanksgiving Day, as you can see from the table set here. There are parades, NFL games and a host of other celebrations too, and the day marks the start of a long weekend break, as well as being the unofficial start of the Christmas season.

I read in the paper the other day that one of those surveys had concluded that one in six would be celebrating the day here in the UK. Does that mean there are 10m Americans living here or are we Brits succumbing to yet another US import! Whatever, you guys sure know how to party, so


  1. November 26, 2016 at 1:56 pm

    Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. It is time for our family to get together and reflect on what truly matters – our family. We eat, laugh, and play games together. It’s the one holiday the out of state siblings come home for every year. I like the idea of doing it like Canada, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 26, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      I’ve always felt that we miss out by not having the holiday at all. I agree that having a longer gap between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a good idea, though, otherwise it makes Christmas seem like a second go at the same thing, and that devalues it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • November 26, 2016 at 2:03 pm

        Yes. It’s like the first day of the Christmas holiday and New Years is the last.

        Liked by 1 person

      • November 26, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        I love Christmas – at least we get to enjoy it without a dress rehearsal!


  2. November 25, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    Nice post. I do all my shopping online because I don’t care for crowds Thanksgiving in the U.S. is mostly about family get-togethers and of course, we party as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 25, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      Thank you. I’m the same for my shopping too, it’s so much easier that way. Hope you had a wonderful day 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  3. November 25, 2016 at 2:22 am

    We have Thanksgiving in Canada, but it falls during the second week of October, which makes more sense, because it leaves a good space before Christmas. As the cooking usually falls to me, I’d hate to do two sets of holiday dinners so close together! Thanks for the history lesson, Clive!

    Liked by 2 people

    • November 25, 2016 at 7:45 am

      That sounds a much better way of doing it, Diane! The timing is closer to our Harvest Festival services, but at least you get the day off for it!


  4. November 24, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    Same – until recently I just assumed Thanksgiving was the American name for Harvest Festival, just a churchy thing. But it seems a bit more like Christmas Day with it’s own version of the Boxing Day sales the day after..

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 24, 2016 at 1:54 pm

      A big party and a massive spending spree – what’s not to like? 🙂


      • November 24, 2016 at 1:57 pm

        I avoid the January sales like the plague so don’t think Black Friday would have much appeal. But any excuse for a drink is good.

        Liked by 2 people

      • November 24, 2016 at 1:59 pm

        Sales in shops are to be avoided at any time. I do mine online, it’s much more civilised 🙂


  5. November 24, 2016 at 11:29 am

    Up until very recently I always thought that in the USA Thanksgiving was a religious holiday. Thanks for clarifying this further.

    Liked by 1 person

    • November 24, 2016 at 11:41 am

      I did too, until I did a little research! It seems like it’s just an excuse for a big party – but who can blame them? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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