It is a joyous yet weird culture practiced in the UK and Canada. In Thanksgiving, an alive turkey is presented in front of the President for the act of pardon by the National Turkey Foundation (NTF).
The main reason behind this strange custom is to thank God for the blessings and benefits of the harvest. Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia, and the sub-national entities Leiden, Norfolk Island, and Puerto Rico.
It began as a day of giving thanks and sacrifice for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year. Similarly named festival holidays to occur in Germany and Japan.
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and Brazil, and around the same part of the year in other places.
Although Thanksgiving has historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, it has long been celebrated as a secular holiday as well. According to some historians, the first celebration of Thanksgiving in North America occurred during the 1578 voyage of Martin Frobisher from England in search of the Northwest Passage.
Other researchers, however, state that “there is no compelling narrative of the origins of the Canadian Thanksgiving day.” The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving are also sometimes traced to the French settlers who came to New France in the 17th century, who celebrated their successful harvests.
The French settlers in the area typically had feasts at the end of the harvest season and continued throughout the winter season, even sharing food with the indigenous peoples of the area.
Thanksgiving in the United States has been observed on differing dates. From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date of observance varied from state to state.
The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century, coinciding with, and eventually superseding the holiday of Evacuation Day (commemorating the day the British exited the United States after the Revolutionary War).
Modern Thanksgiving was proclaimed for all states in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for approximately 40 years advocating an official holiday,
Lincoln set national Thanksgiving by proclamation for the final Thursday in November, explicitly in celebration of the bounties that had continued to fall on the Union and for the military successes in the war. Because of the ongoing Civil War, a nationwide Thanksgiving celebration was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.
The English were not the only influence on Thanksgiving in America. Harvest festivals were celebrated by other European settlers, and similar customs were followed by Native Americans long before the Europeans arrived.
However, these activities remained largely unknown until the twentieth century. The events of 1621 represented “the historical birth of the American Thanksgiving holiday” as we know it and they provide an enduring reminder of Britain and America’s shared cultural heritage.