History of Thanksgiving Day 

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Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day is a North American national holiday held on the fourth Thursday of November in the USA, and on the second Monday of October in Canada.

A brief history of Thanksgiving Day
By tradition, the purpose of Thanksgiving Day is the commemoration of the early successful harvests celebrated by the white settlers who arrived in the New World.

The first celebrations in what is now Canada were held in Newfoundland in 1578 by the English navigator, Martin Frobisher. These were the usual harvest festivals after the year’s work. The first recorded celebration in what is now the USA took place sometime in autumn in 1610, celebrated by the colonists at Jamestown, Virginia.



However for these colonists it was not so much a celebration of the harvest – more the fact that supply ships had arrived from England. Due to the terrible winter 1609-1610, the colonists’ numbers had been decimated from 490 down to 60, and they were desperate.

The first harvest-related Thanksgiving in the future USA was in 1621 at Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Massachusetts, a year after the arrival of the Pilgrims on the Mayflower, and after their first successful year.

So the source of the Thanksgiving Day celebration in the USA is a combination of traditional farming harvest celebrations, the survival of the Jamestown colonists by the arrival of the supply ships, and the celebration of the Pilgrims.

Whatever the reason for the tradition, Thanksgiving Day in our industrial society today is the time for family.