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Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. It is celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.
See the fact file below for more information on the Thanksgiving Day or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Thanksgiving Day worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ORIGIN OF THANKSGIVING IN THE US
- In 1578, explorer Martin Frobisher was believed to be the first to celebrate Thanksgiving in Canada for surviving his journey from England. Some believed that explorer Samuel Champlain held Thanksgiving celebrations with the Natives Americans in New France during the 1600s.
- By the fall of 1621, only half of the Pilgrims, who had sailed on the Mayflower, survived. The survivors, thankful to be alive, decided to have a Thanksgiving feast. The Plymouth Pilgrims were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving.
- The Pilgrim leader, Governor William Bradford, organized the first Thanksgiving feast in the year 1621 and invited the neighboring Wampanoag Indians to the feast.
- The first Thanksgiving feast was held in the presence of around ninety Wampanoag Indians and it lasted three days.
- President George Washington issued the first national Thanksgiving Day Proclamation in the year 1789 and again in 1795.
- Sarah Josepha Hale, an editor with Ladies’ Magazine, started a Thanksgiving campaign in 1827. Due to her efforts, in 1863 Thanksgiving was observed as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer.
- Abraham Lincoln issued a ‘Thanksgiving Proclamation’ on
October 3, 1863, and officially set aside the last Thursday of November as the national day for Thanksgiving. Before President Lincoln made this happen, each president used to make an annual proclamation to specify the day when Thanksgiving would be held.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt restored the last Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day in the year 1939. He did so to make the Christmas shopping season longer, which would stimulate the economy.
- Congress passed an official proclamation in 1941 and declared that Thanksgiving would be observed as a legal holiday on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
- Traditional foods like turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie are served by many on Thanksgiving Day.
- Despite the simplicity of the first Thanksgiving feast, food on the table of Americans today include the traditional roasted turkey with stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, cornbread, and cranberry sauce.
- Others include apple cider, custard, hot chocolate, buttered rum, ham, fruit cake, candy canes, plum pudding, mixed nuts, fudge, pies, and eggnog.
- During this day, families gather to have a Thanksgiving meal together. Most do the breaking of the turkey wishbone during the meal wherein the one who gets the larger piece is granted a wish.
- There are many churches in the United States that hold a special Thanksgiving service to give thanks for the blessings they have received.
- In 1963, US President John F. Kennedy officially pardoned a turkey before the Thanksgiving dinner at the White House. Since then, succeeding presidents continue the tradition of saving a turkey’s life.
The president of the United States does the annual pardoning of a turkey that will not end up on the platter.
- The first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated with lobster, chestnuts, dried fruit, onions, leeks, cabbage, chicken, carrot, rabbit, honey, and maple syrup. The presence of corn on the cob, turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pies eventually became part of the fare.
- Since 1924, Macy’s, a department store chain in the US, holds its annual Thanksgiving Parade which includes marching bands, gigantic floats, balloons, and broadway musicals.
- Macy’s tradition started as a Christmas parade in celebration of the expansion of its flagship store in Manhattan. They introduced floats highlighting Little Miss Muffet, Little Red Riding Hood, and an animal parade.
- Felix the Cat was the first character balloon flown during the Macy’s parade in 1927, while Mickey Mouse made his debut in 1934. At the height of WWII in 1942 until 1944, the parade was halted.
- The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday and is considered the largest and busiest shopping day of the year. This day marks the beginning of the many holiday sales before Christmas.
- Thanksgiving is also a day to watch football live or on the television.
Also during Thanksgiving, many Americans give back and share their blessings to the less fortunate by creating food drives as a form of charity.
- As part of the turkey tradition, there are approximately 46 million turkeys eaten every year during Thanksgiving. Some even call the celebration Turkey Day.
- For some, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest day for travelers as many Americans use this holiday to enjoy family trips.
THANKSGIVING AROUND THE WORLD
- In Germany, Thanksgiving is called “Erntedankfest,” and is celebrated in early October.
- It is similar to American Thanksgiving, and it also includes large dinners made with harvest vegetables, as well as a parade (similar to the Macy’s parade in the US).
- In German churches, the service includes an observance, some singing, and the presenting of the “harvest crown” to a “harvest queen.”
- Labor Thanksgiving Day is celebrated annually in Japan on the 23rd of November to celebrate labor and production, as well as to give thanks to one another.
- It is a national holiday and was adopted during the American occupation after World War II.
- Many children in Japan draw pictures on the holiday and give them to neighborhood policemen to thank them for their service to the community.
- Korea celebrates a day of thanks called “Chuseok,” which occurs in late September.
- Rome’s version of Thanksgiving is a harvest festival called “Cerelia.” It is a day to honor the Goddess of Corn, Ceres. Cerelia is celebrated on October 4th every year.
- The foods produced for Cerelia are a symbol of thanks from the Romans.
- In Ghana, “Homowo” is celebrated to give thanks in August and September. Ceremonies for this festival include a procession of chiefs through the major roads in the area, finely dressed. “Homowo” means “hooting at hunger.”
- Newly harvested crops are “blessed” and the people who eat them are purified before consuming them.
- The Chinese version of Thanksgiving is called “Chung Ch’ui,” also referred to as the August Moon Festival.
- It is a 3-day celebration that occurs in the middle of August and sees Chinese families celebrating the end of the harvest season with a roast pig and mooncakes, symbols of family unity and perfection.
- The Chinese also give their cakes to friends and family.
- In the Southern parts of India, people celebrate their harvest at the Pongal festival. This festival takes place in January.
Thanksgiving Day Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about the Thanksgiving Day across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Thanksgiving Day worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Thanksgiving Day which is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and the second Monday of October in Canada. It is celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Thanksgiving Day Facts
- Around the World in Thanksgiving
- The Pilgrims
- Thanksgiving Feast
- The Mayflower
- Wampanoag Indians
- US Holidays
- Presidents and Thanksgiving
- In Painting
- How They Do It?
- Give Thanks!
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Link will appear as Thanksgiving Day Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, November 13, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.