Thanksgiving, An International Holiday

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated across the United States on the fourth Thursday in November. This year Thanksgiving Day lands on Thursday, November 22. Government buildings, retailers and businesses will be closed to allow employees the day to observe.

This holiday tradition began during the Civil War in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”. However, the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation in 1621. Chief Massosoit of the Wampanoag Tribe was part of the celebration in appreciation of the first successful harvest of crops in the New World. This feast lastest for three days and included both Pilgrims and Native Americans. If you would like to learn more about the First Thanksgiving you can visit

Although Thanksgiving is federal holiday in the United States, other countries also observe a day of thanksgiving. In Canada, the second Monday of October is their day of celebration. India has a similar holiday celebrated on August 15. Pakistan celebrates for three days on the tenth month of the Muslim calendar. Korea has Chusok, which is also a three-day holiday. Chusok takes place sometime between September and October, or August 15 on the lunar calendar. These are just a few of the countries, outside of the United States, that observe a time of thanksgiving.

In November 1997, as a communal effort to reunite people all over the world, the millennium year 2000 was proclaimed as the ‘International year of Thanksgiving’ by the United Nations. This was the first time that the general assembly voted unanimously in favor of a spirtual idea. The idea behind the declaration was to spread peace, harmony and brotherhood. The UN decided the year 2000 as the ‘International Thanksgiving Year’ in order to celebrate the gift of life as the noblest expression of the human spirit and to promote friendly relations among nations.

Thanksgiving is a communal gesture celebrated throughout the world, spanning several continents. Thanksgiving is defined as the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors. So, regardless of where you are located or if you celebrate a day of “thanksgiving”, take time to appreciate your friends and family, and to reflect on all you are thankful for!

TOPIC: Cultural Differences, Festivals/Holidays

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