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what is the meaning of thanksgiving?

What has the meaning of Thanksgiving got to do with someone sat in the UK?

Why am I writing about it?

Having been exposed to many American and Canadian shows, Thanksgiving is relayed as an event as big as Christmas, for some bigger than Christmas!

This has intrigued me, so I have set-about to learn more...

I always believed that the occurrence of Thanksgiving being in November, coincided with the end of the harvest season.

Once all the hard work is done, what better thing to do, but to give Thanks for what you have duly received?

It may well have had religious origins, however it is now celebrated as a holiday, and can be referred to as Turkey Day! But why is that?

when is it?

For the USA the day occurs on the 4th Thursday in November.

It is celebrated as a holiday for Americans, due to Franklin D. Roosevelt signing a bill into law with Congress making this day a holiday!

For those that observe Canadian traditions the holiday is celebrated on 2nd Monday of October.

It is deemed a statutory holiday unless you reside in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and/or Nova Scotia.

However the actual first "Thanksgiving Feast" and the origin of Thanksgiving as we know it, is somewhat contested.  The dates lie between 1565 and 1621!

who celebrates thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving bouquetThanksgiving bouquet

I am going to show my ignorance here, as I thought that this was purely a holiday that the Americans celebrated.

I did not think about those that reside in Canada, and with a little bit of research, I found out there are a few more countries that also celebrate this holiday.

When someone says 'the meaning of Thanksgiving' to me, I tend to picture the scene from 'Stepmom ' and the delightful lad dressed as the Turkey (not seen it?  Do try it!).  

So yes my thoughts turn immediately to the Pilgrims, and the thanks that were given for the harvest, as it was shared in 1621.


My belief that this is somewhat commemorative to the celebrations in the USA, that are found on the fourth Thursday during November.

I did not realize that the celebrations of this event also stretched to places such as Norfolk Island (Australian external territory), Liberia and slightly earlier The Netherlands, where Leiden still celebrates the hospitalities the Pilgrims received on their way to the New World.

Autumn trees with golden leaves.Golden avenue of trees.
Gourds for a Thanksgiving harvest window.Gourds in my harvest window.


For me I seem to not associate Canada with the USA, its definitely a block that I have in my mind. So it therefore came as a surprise when researching the event of Thanksgiving, and Canada cropped up as celebrating it!

However I see that there are differences and of course a different date.

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October in Canada and is commemorative of returning home. Martin Frobisher's journey to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean, and the fact that he returned home safely; I can think of no better reason to celebrate, as being apart from your family can be somewhat heart-rendering.


An event more in my lifetime, sees those that reside in Grenada.

The meaning of Thanksgiving Day and it's celebrations have a quite different meaning.

However their reason for celebration is little to do with homecoming, or their harvest, but to give Thanks for the peace established in 1983 by the Caribbean and American military.

Their intervention restored order to the country, and I cannot think of a better reason to be Thankful than for the peace of a country!

the meaning of thanksgiving and how i'd celebrate...

To answer this, I would certainly pull together the things that I've learnt by researching the meaning of Thanksgiving.

Being home with the family, and extended family, surrounded by people you love and care for; that's who I'd spend my Thanksgiving with.

As for the meaning of thanksgiving and its' celebrations, yes we'd watch the local Parade, it would be great to be in the throngs of the crowd, but then I guess there could be difficulties in getting the feast prepared...

I'm also not very tall, so the thought of watching at home on the TV, preparing our feast, actually quite appeals as I'd probably see far more!

We'd have games running along for the kids and adults to play, whether this be outside or in, myself, like I've said probably in the kitchen, preparing a nice warm drink for when they come back inside.

I think it is safe to say, that for me the meaning of thanksgiving is the facts that I am grateful to my husband for his care and support.  

Grateful for the safe arrival of my children and the joy they give me as I watch them grow.

Then I am most thankful to the rest of my family and dear friends - as without them, life just wouldn't be fun!