Thanksgiving Day is observed to thank God for the bounty He had bestowed for the year and to all those who have extended support in difficult times. Although Thanksgiving holds similar meaning to harvest festival observed in many traditions, the celebration is very popular in countries like US and Canada. In the US, Thanksgiving is celebrated on fourth Thursday in November month and in Canada, it is celebrated on second Monday in October month. On this day, families and friends gather together for sumptuous dinner. Preparations for the day begin well before Thanksgiving Day. They put up giant balloon decoration and send greetings and gifts to near and dear ones. Elders make it a point to instill values and explain meaning of Thanksgiving to children on this day. The celebration is often marked with family get together, fun fare and merriment.
Thanksgiving Traditional Significance
The tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in the US goes way back to 1565 when hundreds of Spanish migrants arrived at St. Augustine, Florida. They organized first collective Thanksgiving to offer gratitude for their safe passage to America. Later, on it was held in 1619 at the Virginia Colony; in 1621 by the Pilgrims of Plymouth and in 1777 following the Battle of Saratoga. However, on October 3, 1789, George Washington declared November 26, 1789 as Thanksgiving Day. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln renewed the tradition by setting the last Thursday of November as the Thanksgiving Day. In Canada, wayfarer Martin Frobisher first held Thanksgiving service in 1578. It has been held every year in Canada since 1879.
People begin Thanksgiving Day by going to church in the morning to offer prayers to God. The Churches also present special service on Thanksgiving Day. Communal prayers are also being held on this special day. At home, family members recite verses or prayers from bible to thank almighty God for his love and generosity.
Members of family who live far away visit home to celebrate the day. Family and friends gather to sing, dance and play games. Elaborate dinners are served consisting of stuffed turkeys as a main course of the meal along with various side dishes such as sweet corn, cranberries, olives and mashed potatoes. The deserts served are pecan tart with cream, triangle cookies pumpkin pot of cream, cranberry blueberry mix pie, tapioca pudding, pumpkin pie and apple pie. It is a custom to say prayers before eating a dinner. At dinner table, people make a wish. They try to get the wishbone of the Turkey meat as it is believed that their wish will be granted by almighty God.
Feeding the poor
People also engage in feeding the poor. In some cases, communal feeding is arranged for the poor as they collect food from numerous organization days before Thanksgiving. Most of communal feedings for the poor consist of canned food. And there are others who offer their voluntary service for the community on this day.
In the United States, large numbers of public parades are carried out on Thanksgiving Day. And some others indulge in recreation and shopping.
So, on Thanksgiving Day people indulge in lavish feasting with family and friends whilst also offering gratitude to almighty God. It is the day to remember the kindness of God and those who have given support in our lives.