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


15 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Day

  1. 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

  2. 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

Please leave a reply, I'd like to know what you think

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.