Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated mainly in the United States and Canada. It is a day for giving thanks for the blessings of the previous year. In the United States, it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November but in Canada it is on the second Monday of October. Other places around the globe have similar celebrations. Thanksgiving has long been celebrated and it has historical roots from both religious and cultural traditions.
Thanksgiving Day is similar to annual harvest festivals that are celebrated in other countries around the world. It was initially meant to pay homage to the Almighty God for having a bountiful harvest. It is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November based on the harvest cycle and season. Since 1930, the end of Thanksgiving marks the start of the Christmas season. In Canada, the Thanksgiving holiday lasts only three days but in the United States, it is much longer.
Thanksgiving Day in the United States originates from the time when immigrants sailed to the country aboard the Mayflower. They were members of the English Separatist Church which was a Puritan sect. They initially settled in Netherlands but didn’t like the lifestyle there so they moved to the United States desiring to have a better lifestyle. In the beginning, they suffered because of the unfavourable climate and many even died. However, in 1621 they were blessed with a bountiful harvest. They celebrated through a feast and invited 91 Indians who helped them through the harsh times.
Through the years, thanksgiving was celebrated at irregular intervals depending on the harvest from the previous season. Then, President Franklin Roosevelt officially set it one week to the next-to-last Thursday of November. This was in order to keep an eye on its commercial benefits since it was near the Christmas season. The President moved Thanksgiving back to its original date because of allegations against such decision then in 1941 it was finally approved by Congress to be a legal holiday and designated on the fourth Thursday in November.
Purpose of Thanksgiving
For a lot of people, Thanksgiving has become their official binge eating day stuffing themselves with as much turkey as possible. For others, it is a day for drinking too much while watching football until they pass out. Then, you spend a couple of days eating leftover turkey and stuffing while regretting the weight you have just gained. However, there are many others who focus on the true meaning of thanksgiving which is simply to be thankful for everything you have. The purpose of thanksgiving is to practice humility and give thanks for whatever it is we have.
Thanksgiving Day should be a day for contemplation and reflection in order to appreciate what we have. Although many of us have numerous reasons to be miserable, we should choose to be thankful just like those who made the trip to the new world during the first thanksgiving. Out of the 152, only 53 didn’t die and they suffered through a lot including disease, malnutrition and brutal weather. They were still thankful and we should be thankful as well.
What You Can Do on Thanksgiving Day?
- Watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade with your family
- Work on Thanksgiving Day crafts with your family and friends
- Play Thanksgiving Day games like pinning the turkey
- Share your blessings with the less fortunate
- Volunteer for worthwhile causes like soup kitchens
- Take a short walk or indulge in any form of exercise in preparation for your feast
- Plan for the things you want to be thankful for next year
Message on Thanksgiving Day
Everyone has something they should be thankful for. It may be the clothes you are wearing, the roof over your head, your old yet reliable car or your life partner who has always been there for you. Of course, everyone has disappointments and have a desire for more things. Thanksgiving is about focusing on whatever you currently have and just being thankful.
Special Tips on Thanksgiving Day
- Start the day with a healthy breakfast
- Do not go crazy on your diet
- Try to squeeze in a workout to avoid gaining too much weight during the season
- Try an new recipe or ask for ideas from your guests
- Look for healthy Thanksgiving meals options
- Make the day fun by trying new things like Thanksgiving games
Thanksgiving Day should not just be about indulging in delicious food and alcohol. It should be a reminder that we have many things to be thankful for including our family and friends. Whatever your circumstance, there is always something to be thankful for. You should take a moment and reflect on everything that is good in your life.