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What Is the History of Thanksgiving?

The fourth Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day in the United States; a day proclaimed for people of all faiths to join in prayer and give thanks to God. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the second Monday in October.

According to tradition, The first Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Gov. William Bradford of Plymouth Colony in the autumn of 1621. For three days the English Pilgrims feasted on wild turkey and venison with their Native American guests who brought gifts of food as a gesture of goodwill.

President Washington proclaimed the first nation-wide day of thanksgiving on November 26, 1789. In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November to be a national holiday of thanksgiving. Finally, in 1941, Congress adopted a resolution setting the date as the fourth Thursday in November.

Thanksgiving Day celebrations are usually centered on family gatherings. The traditional Thanksgiving meal includes turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, squash, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie.

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