Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday in
the United States, and Thanksgiving 2018
occurs on Thursday, November 22. In 1621,
the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag
Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that
is acknowledged today as one of the first
Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies.
For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving
were celebrated by individual colonies
and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of
the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln
proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to
be held each November.
In many American households, the
Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its
original religious significance; instead, it now
centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful
meal with family and friends.
Turkey, a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous
it has become all but synonymous with the
holiday, may or may not have been an offer
when the Pilgrims hosted the inaugural feast
in 1621. Today, however, nearly 90 percent of
Americans eat the bird—whether roasted,
baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving,
according to the National Turkey Federation.
Other traditional foods include stuffing,
mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and
pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common
Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities
often hold food drives and host free dinners
for the less fortunate. n