Thanksgiving 2020 date: When is Thanksgiving?

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Thanksgiving is celebrated as a national holiday across the USA, and most people do not go to work on the day. Thanksgiving Day is a celebration of the harvest, and a time to give thanks for blessings over the past year. Other countries, such as Canada, Brazil and St Lucia, also have national Thanksgiving holidays, but the day may be held on different dates to the US.

When is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving takes place in the US every fourth Thursday in the month of November.

This year Thanksgiving falls on Thursday, November 26, 2020.

According to Britannica, Thanksgiving in the US is believed to originate from the 1621 harvest feast, which was shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people.

This feast is commonly referred to as the “First Thanksgiving”, but the celebration of Thanksgiving in the US was sporadic over the years to follow.

President Abraham Lincoln was in favour of Thanksgiving becoming a national holiday, and he proclaimed Thursday, November 26, 1863, would be a day of national Thanksgiving.

President Ulysses S Grant passed the Holidays Act in 1870 which signed into law that Thanksgiving would be a federal holiday each year.

From 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated the date of Thanksgiving would be the fourth Thursday in November annually, and Thanksgiving Day has been held on this date ever since.

How do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?

Families will usually gather for Thanksgiving to spend time together and eat a special meal for the occasion.

Thanksgiving dinner is a key part of the day, and usually includes food like turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.

For some people, Thanksgiving is a religious day which people mark by attending church services.

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Thanksgiving is also a time for charity for many people, and some people volunteer to help serve Thanksgiving meals to people who need them.

Although the event is virtual this year due to coronavirus, Thanksgiving usually includes the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, which many tune in to watch on their TVs.

Other Thanksgiving Day parades are also held across the US, which people gather to watch on the streets of the cities.

People may also watch American football games on Thanksgiving Day, as sports form a major part of Thanksgiving celebrations in the US.

US presidents have a significant role in Thanksgiving celebrations.

Since 1989 presidents have traditionally pardoned a turkey on Thanksgiving outside the White House, and subsequently donated them to a petting zoo.

Ronald Reagan was the first US president to formally pardon a turkey in 1987.

George H.W. Bush started the tradition of annually pardoning a turkey, and in recent years the president tends to pardon two turkeys.

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