Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada
as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the
preceding year. Several other places around the world observe similar
celebrations. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the
United States and on the second Monday of October in Canada.
The first Canadian Thanksgiving is often traced back to 1578 and the explorer Martin Frobisher. Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage
to the Pacific Ocean, held his Thanksgiving celebration not for harvest
but in thanks for surviving the long journey from England through the
perils of storms and icebergs. On his third and final voyage to the far
north, Frobisher held a formal ceremony in Frobisher Bay in Baffin Island (present-day Nunavut) to give thanks to God and in a service ministered by the preacher Robert Wolfall they celebrated Communion.
The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are also sometimes traced to the French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain
in the early 17th century, who celebrated their successful harvests.
The French settlers in the area typically had feasts at the end of the
harvest season and continued throughout the winter season, even sharing
food with the indigenous people of the area.
As settlers arrived in Canada from New England, late autumn
Thanksgiving celebrations became common. New immigrants into the
country, such as the Irish, Scottish and Germans, also added their own
traditions to the harvest celebrations.
Day in America is a time to offer thanks, of family
gatherings and holiday meals. A time of turkeys,
stuffing, and pumpkin pie. A time for Indian corn,
holiday parades and giant balloons.
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is
commonly, but not universally, traced to a poorly documented 1621
celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. Pilgrims and Puritans
who began emigrating from England in the 1620s and 1630s carried the
tradition of Days of Fasting and Days of Thanksgiving with them to New England.
(The Thanksgiving holiday’s history in North America is rooted in English traditions dating from the Protestant Reformation. In the English tradition, days of thanksgiving and special thanksgiving religious services became important during the English Reformation in the reign of Henry VIII
and in reaction to the large number of religious holidays on the
Catholic calendar. Before 1536 there were 95 Church holidays, plus 52
Sundays, when people were required to attend church and forego work and
sometimes pay for expensive celebrations.
The 1536 reforms reduced the
number of Church holidays to 27, but some Puritans wished to completely eliminate all Church holidays, including Christmas and Easter.
The holidays were to be replaced by specially called Days of Fasting or
Days of Thanksgiving, in response to events that the Puritans viewed as
acts of special providence.
Unexpected disasters or threats of judgement from on high called for
Days of Fasting. Special blessings, viewed as coming from God, called
for Days of Thanksgiving.
For example, Days of Fasting were called on
account of drought in 1611, floods in 1613, and plagues in 1604 and
1622. Days of Thanksgiving were called following the victory over the Spanish Armada in 1588 and following the deliverance of Queen Anne in 1705.)
Thanksgiving proclamations were made mostly by church leaders in New
England up until 1682, and then by both state and church leaders until
after the American Revolution. As President of the United States, George Washington proclaimed the
first nation-wide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November
26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by
acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of
In modern times the President of the United States, in addition to issuing a proclamation, will “pardon” a turkey, which spares the bird’s life and ensures that it will spend the duration of its life roaming freely on farmland.
National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation is a ceremony that takes place at the White House every year shortly before Thanksgiving. The President of the United States is presented with a live domestic turkey, usually of the Broad Breasted White variety. Generally the National Turkey Federation and the Poultry and Egg National Board are involved. Since 1989 during the first Thanksgiving of President George H. W. Bush, the president has granted the turkey a “presidential pardon” and thus spared the bird from being slaughtered.
source : wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving
A dose of English :
harvest – harvesting. the gathering of crops
settler – a person who settles in a new country or area
feast – a periodical celebration or time of celebration, usually of a religious nature, commemorating an event, person, etc.
stuffing – seasoned bread crumbs or other filling used to stuff a chicken, turkey, etc., before cooking
to forego – to give up or do without
drought – a period of dry weather, especially a long one that is injurious to crops
flood – a great flowing or overflowing of water, especially over land not usually submerged
plague – an epidemic disease that causes high mortality
deliverance – birth
to roam – to walk, go, or travel without a fixed purpose or direction
to be slaughtered – the killing or butchering of cattle, sheep, etc., especially for food
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