Thanksgiving 2023: History and origins of the American holiday

Published by Manon de Sortiraparis · Published on November 14th, 2023 at 03:42 p.m.
Thanksgiving 2023 is fast approaching! Discover the history and origins of this traditional American holiday, observed every year on the 4th Thursday in November.

Celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is one of the major holidays in the United States. Its origins date back to the 17th century, when the first settlers arrived in North America. One of the first documented Thanksgiving celebrations took place in 1621 in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Around one hundred English Protestants, commonly known as the Pilgrim Fathers, disembarked from the Mayflower and founded the colony and town of Plymouth. But colonization got off to a rocky start, with half the new arrivals dying of scurvy. In fact, the English settlers owed their salvation to the native Amerindians, notably the Wampanoag tribe, who taught them to fish, hunt and grow corn.

In autumn 1621, when the harvest was abundant, Governor William Bradford decreed three days of thanksgiving. Settlers and natives shared an opulent meal of wild turkey, deer and pigeon, considered the first Thanksgiving in history. The celebration is repeated in subsequent years, right up to the present day, although it is now secular.

Declared a national holiday, Thanksgiving is, for Americans, a way of thanking God for the providential quality of the New World and the good relations with the indigenous populations; although many Native American groups denounce the massacres of these same Indians, perpetrated after the arrival of the Pilgrim Fathers.

Today, this holiday of gratitude is an opportunity for families to gather around a hearty dinner and share a convivial moment, being grateful for the good things in life. But Thanksgiving also marks the start of the holiday season, with numerous parades in the streets and American soccer games broadcast on television. The following day, known as Black Friday, is also a time for bargains!

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Dates and Opening Time
On November 23th, 2023

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