Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving | What Is Thanksgiving? Here’s Why We Celebrate

Why Do We Celebrate ThanksgivingWhy Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving

Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday celebrated in various parts of the world. It is a time when families and friends come together, indulge in delicious feasts, and express gratitude for the blessings in their lives. The history, traditions, and significance of Thanksgiving make it a special occasion, rich with cultural and emotional significance.

Historical Origins of Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving

The origins of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the early 17th century when the Pilgrims, seeking religious freedom, arrived in the New World aboard the Mayflower. Facing harsh conditions and limited resources, they forged friendships with the Native Americans, who taught them essential survival skills and provided assistance. In the autumn of 1621, after a successful harvest, the Pilgrims and Native Americans came together to celebrate and give thanks, marking the first Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Becomes a National Holiday

For many years, Thanksgiving was celebrated sporadically and regionally. However, it wasn’t until the 19th century that Sarah Josepha Hale, an influential writer and editor, campaigned for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln heeded her call, proclaiming Thanksgiving a national holiday, to be celebrated on the final Thursday of November.

The Significance of Thanksgiving

Giving Thanks and Gratitude

At its core, Thanksgiving is a time to express gratitude for the abundance in our lives. It serves as a reminder to appreciate the blessings we often take for granted, such as food, shelter, and the love of family and friends. Taking a moment to reflect on these blessings fosters a sense of contentment and well-being. Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving.

Family and Community

Thanksgiving is synonymous with togetherness. Families and friends gather from near and far to reconnect and strengthen their bonds. The warmth of shared meals and laughter creates lasting memories, making Thanksgiving an occasion cherished by people of all ages.

Symbolism of Harvest

Thanksgiving’s timing in late autumn aligns with the harvest season, adding a deeper significance to the celebration. It symbolizes the rewards of hard work, the abundance of nature, and the cycle of life. The harvest theme is often incorporated into Thanksgiving decorations, emphasizing the importance of agricultural prosperity.

Traditions and Customs of Thanksgiving

Turkey and Festive Foods

A classic Thanksgiving dinner typically features a roasted turkey as the centerpiece, surrounded by a mouthwatering array of side dishes and desserts. From cranberry sauce to pumpkin pie, each food item carries its own cultural and regional significance. The act of sharing a hearty meal brings people together and symbolizes unity.

Parades and Football

In many cities, Thanksgiving parades have become a cherished tradition. These festive processions feature colorful floats, marching bands, and larger-than-life balloons. Additionally, Thanksgiving Day is synonymous with football, and many families gather around the television to cheer for their favorite teams, adding a sporty element to the celebrations.

Black Friday

While not directly related to the spirit of Thanksgiving, the day after the holiday has gained significance as Black Friday – a massive shopping event known for its incredible discounts and deals. Many people kickstart their holiday shopping on this day, contributing to the bustling atmosphere in retail stores and online.

Thanksgiving Around the World

Similar Celebrations in Other Countries

Thanksgiving, in its essence, is a celebration of gratitude and harvest, and similar festivals are observed in various cultures worldwide. For instance, Canada celebrates its own Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October, and other countries, such as Grenada and Liberia, also have their versions of a harvest festival.

Harvest Festivals in Different Cultures

Beyond Thanksgiving, harvest festivals hold cultural and religious importance in many societies. These festivals often involve expressions of thankfulness to deities or spirits for a bountiful harvest. The diversity of harvest celebrations highlights the universal human connection to the land and its produce.

Controversies and Criticisms

Treatment of Native Americans

The historical context of the first Thanksgiving is not without controversy. Critics argue that the narrative often glosses over the hardships faced by Native Americans and the subsequent colonization and displacement they endured. It is essential to acknowledge and understand the complex history of this event.

Arguments Against Thanksgiving

Some individuals and groups raise objections to Thanksgiving, viewing it as a symbol of colonialism and cultural appropriation. They advocate for reframing the holiday to recognize and respect the experiences of indigenous communities and promote a more inclusive and compassionate narrative.

Modern-Day Thanksgiving

Evolving Traditions

As society changes, so do our traditions. Modern families may add their own twists to Thanksgiving, incorporating new dishes, activities, or customs that resonate with their unique values and lifestyles. This adaptability ensures that Thanksgiving remains relevant to each generation.

Travel and Reunions

Thanksgiving often involves significant travel, as people journey to be with their loved ones during this special time. The anticipation of reuniting with family and friends adds to the excitement and emotional significance of the holiday.

Incorporation of Diverse Perspectives

With an increasingly diverse society, Thanksgiving has become an opportunity to celebrate and learn from various cultures. Many households incorporate dishes and traditions from different parts of the world, creating a more inclusive and enriching experience.


Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving is more than just a holiday; it is a time to pause, reflect, and express gratitude for the many blessings in our lives. Rooted in history and celebrated with joy, this cherished occasion brings people together, fosters a sense of community, and symbolizes the abundance of life. As we gather with loved ones and partake in delicious feasts, let us remember the true essence of Thanksgiving – to give thanks and appreciate the beauty of togetherness.

FAQs: Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving

  1. Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?

    Americans celebrate Thanksgiving to commemorate the historical gathering of the Pilgrims and Native Americans, as well as to express gratitude for their blessings.

  2. What is the main dish of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner?

    The main dish of a traditional Thanksgiving dinner is usually a roasted turkey.

  3. Is Thanksgiving only celebrated in the United States?

    While the United States is most closely associated with Thanksgiving, other countries, such as Canada, also have their versions of a harvest festival.

  4. Why is Thanksgiving sometimes criticized?

    Thanksgiving is sometimes criticized for overlooking the hardships faced by Native Americans and for perpetuating cultural stereotypes.

  5. How can I make Thanksgiving more inclusive?

    To make Thanksgiving more inclusive, consider incorporating diverse dishes, traditions, and perspectives from various cultures and communities.