God has given us so much - flowers and trees, mountains and rivers, sun and moon, fruits and vegetables, skies and stars. We admire them and relish them, but we hardly take time to thank God for all He has given us. Thanksgiving Day is a day assigned to make us take time out of our hectic lives and share the gifts God has given us with our family and friends. At the same time, they thank God for his benevolence. Besides family gatherings and holiday meals, the chief highlights of the Thanksgiving festival are stuffed turkeys as the main dish on the dinner table, with pumpkin pies as the desserts, apart from giant balloon decoration, holiday parades and Thanksgiving gifts.
The national holiday of United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year. The day is celebrated to commemorate the harvest of the Plymouth Colony in 1621, which spelt life for Pilgrims, after the sufferings of starvation in the long winter draught. The then Governor, William Bradford, assigned the day as the Thanksgiving Day and a great feast was prepared, which was shared by the colonists as well as the neighboring Native Americans. Since then, thanksgiving became an annual celebration and is now among the most popular U.S festivals.
Observances similar to first Thanksgiving were held sporadically over time. It was only after the American Revolution that George Washington proclaimed the first National Thanksgiving Day on November 26, 1789. Abraham Lincoln, another U.S president, revived the custom in 1863 and appointed the last Thursday of November as the Thanksgiving Day. The customary turkey dinner is served in the remembrance of the wild fowls or turkeys that were served at the Pilgrims' first thanksgiving feast. The entire family gathers at the dinner table and offer prayers to the Almighty before beginning to eat.
Canada is another country where Thanksgiving is celebrated with much fun and gaiety. There, the festival falls on the second Monday in October. Although many people in Canada thank God on this day, for the bounty, happiness and love in their life, the holiday is mainly considered secular in nature. Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada and is celebrated with a large family meal. It traces its roots to 1578, when an explorer, Martin Frobisher, held a formal ceremony to give thanks for surviving the long journey, for trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Since 1879, Thanksgiving has been observed every year in Canada.