Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in the United States and Canada, traditionally observed through a meal featuring a roasted turkey and other traditional foods.

Although the date of the first Thanksgiving is subject to debate, holiday lore puts this meal in 1621 when early European settlers of North America gathered with Native Americans to give thanks for a plentiful harvest. In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. In Canada, the celebration occurs on the second Monday in October. The holiday was celebrated regionally throughout early American history until Abraham Lincoln fixed a national date in 1863 in an attempt to create a feeling of national unity during the Civil War.

Definitions of Thanksgiving

n fourth Thursday in November in the United States; second Monday in October in Canada; commemorates a feast held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag

Thanksgiving Day
Type of:
feast day, fete day
a day designated for feasting
legal holiday, national holiday, public holiday
authorized by law and limiting work or official business

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