Thanksgiving Day in the United States

When is Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving Day is on November 25, 2021.
It falls on Thursday.

How many days until Thanksgiving Day?

There are 307 Days left until Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

What is Thanksgiving Day?

Thanksgiving Day (also known as American Thanksgiving) is a federal holiday in the United States that is celebrated every Fourth Thursday of November. This occasion began to be observed in celebration of the year’s harvest and express gratitude for one’s blessings in life. Aside from the United States, there are several other countries around the world that also celebrate Thanksgiving Day, that includes Canada, China, Germany, Japan, and Grenada.

Origin of Thanksgiving Day

People around the world have their own meaningful and significant ways of showing appreciation to what they have in life. The Americans, like others, also perceive their Thanksgiving holiday as the perfect day for expressing gratitude for all the things enjoyed in life.

How did Thanksgiving start?

The first Thanksgiving Day celebration can be traced as early as 17th century, specifically on year 1621. It started as a harvest feast which lasted for three days, shared between the Pilgrims of Plymouth (travelers who journey from a sacred place for religious reasons) and the Wampanoag Indians. This large feast was held to celebrate the abundance of their harvest on that year.

When did Thanksgiving Day become a federal holiday in the US?

Formerly, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day as a national holiday on year 1863 – occurring on the last Thursday of November. However, to lengthen the Christmas shopping season, the US government decided to switch its celebratory date. It was moved to the fourth Thursday of November on December 26, 1941 – declaring it as a Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday at the same time.


Thanksgiving Day Traditions

Majority of the Americans spend Thanksgiving together with their families. As a federal holiday, most of the country’s businesses are closed, and nearly all of the employees are given a day off. Government offices, schools, and other public establishments suspend operation too.

How do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?

In present times, Thanksgiving Day is generally celebrated to show appreciation for all the blessings received in life. Most celebrations in the United States may include a Thanksgiving Day Service, family gatherings, and the preparation of large meals. Other people also observe this day by watching sporting events on television (like football) along with their family, relatives, or friends. Additionally, greetings like ‘Happy Thanksgiving’, or ‘Have a blessed Thanksgiving’ are also heard throughout the day.

Thanksgiving Feasts

One of the biggest established practice during this holiday is the Thanksgiving feasts. People gather with their loved ones and enjoy the day over tasty dishes solely prepared for this occasion. Although some of them hold their Thanksgiving meals in the late afternoon or evening, many Americans serve these large meals around early afternoon. Traditional foods seen at the table typically include roasted or fried turkey, stuffing, green beans, corn, mashed potatoes, gravy, pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, cornbread, and cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving Day Parades in the United States

Many big cities across the country traditionally hold Thanksgiving Day parades every year. Streets are packed with millions of spectators watching the large number of marchers participating on the event. Marchers usually include costumed characters, singers, dancers, and marching bands in various outfits. Colorful and well-decorated floats as well as giant cartoon character balloons are also seen. Therefore, it has become customary for most of the Americans to watch these events either personally or live on TV and get in with the festive mood. In particular, the following are some of the most popular Thanksgiving Day parades held in the United States – Macy's Thanksgiving Parade (New York), McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade (Chicago), America's Thanksgiving Parade (Detroit), America's Hometown Thanksgiving Parade (Plymouth, Massachusetts), and H-E-B Thanksgiving Day Parade (Houston).

Engaging on charitable activities

Another popular Thanksgiving tradition in the United States is engaging in charitable activities. Many Americans take this day to help the less fortunate members of the society. Some of them would give foods to local food banks while others may hand out donations like food and clothing to the homeless people. Several communities also traditionally host free Thanksgiving meals for the needy.

Dates of Observance for Thanksgiving Day
Year Date Day Holiday
2021 November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
2022 November 24 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
2023 November 23 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
2024 November 28 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
2025 November 27 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
2026 November 26 Thursday Thanksgiving Day
Upcoming United States Holidays
Holiday Date
Valentine's Day February 14, 2021
Washington's Birthday February 15, 2021
Tax Day April 15, 2021