When Is Thanksgiving 2018 and Why Is It Celebrated In The US And Canada?

Are you wondering when the Thanksgiving 2018 is going to be marked in the US and Canada so you can take a quick trip out to be with friends and loved ones for the occasion? Well, that’s why we are here to help you organize your schedules for the season. Indeed for after all the hard work, there is a time to rest and unwind with family and friends all round in a jolly mood reflecting over the events of that year while feeling thankful to God and sharing the joys and foods with the loved ones gathered together.

The aforementioned is what the Thanksgiving holiday offers – 3 days in the week – and it is usually a big deal in the United States of America and in some parts of Canada as many preparations are put into making the occasion a more memorable one than the previous. You may want to know the history of the annual occasion and the days it will be celebrated this year, 2018, so you are welcomed to keeping reading.

History of Thanksgiving

Historian says there are a few recorded accounts of Thanksgiving as it was first celebrated. The first ever Thanksgiving was said to have been celebrated in 1578 (Canada) and 1621 (USA).

The Canadians were said to have first started observing Thanksgiving as a religious practice or holiday when Martin Frobisher, the English Explorer led his crew in a prayer of thanksgiving after their safe voyage from the exploration they had embarked on. The thanksgiving prayer was later followed by three days of feasting which coincided with the start of harvest. This Thanksgiving claim, however, has been contested by most Americans as lacking the real Thanksgiving tradition.

The US Thanksgiving history dates back to when some of the religious separatists fled England to the Netherlands in order to find a place that would conducive for them to practice their different religious beliefs. While in the Netherlands, they still felt uncomfortable, and so they proceeded to board the Mayflower ship in search of a new place for a fresh start. The ship was said to harbor 102 people, half of whom were not separatists but the crew of the ship and they journeyed for about 66 days before they set down their anchor at the Cape Cod in the Northern part of the Hudson River.

The Pilgrims as they were known crossed over to the Massachusetts Bay and started settling down at Plymouth, on their arrival to Plymouth they were faced by averse weather condition of harsh winter that saw about 46 of them die in December 1620. They were welcomed by the native Indians – the Abenaki tribe – in March of 1621 who later introduced them to Squanto, a Native American who was previously captured and enslaved before he got away. He was from the tribe of Pawtuxet and he taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate crops, tap saps from trees, fish from the rivers and differentiate between which herbs or plant is good for food to avoid eating poisonous herbs.

The new settlers at Plymouth later formed an alliance with another tribe, Wampanoag which endued for over 50 years, and ironically it is the only recorded harmonious relationship between the colonist and the tribesmen. By November 1621, the crops had sprouted and bore plentiful harvests that prompted the pilgrims led by their governor William Bradford in declaring three-day feasts and thanksgiving in which they extended invitations to all the tribes surrounding them who had been helpful to them in the newfound land. The Wampanoag chief, Massasoit, was among the guests with his men who honored the celebratory invitation bearing 4-5 deer as gifts for the occasion.

Historians have stated that the meals at this first celebratory festival were done with traditional American spices and cooking methods and that fishes, birds (ducks and geese), deer venison were prepared. Berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, plums and flour, and sugar had been exhausted by this time and they were unavailable which meant that pies, cakes, and the likes were largely absent in that first Thanksgiving.

The activities that are done during this period include; giving quality thanks in songs and praises, offering prayers, feasting on already prepared foods which are usually done traditionally with the traditional spices, while spending relaxing time with family playing games like football, the occasion also has ceremonial parades by the people.

When Is Thanksgiving 2018?

The date dotted for this year’s celebration of the US Thanksgiving is Thursday 22nd November 2018 which is the 4th Thursday of November earmarked in the calendar for its celebration in all the states in America. The Canadians, on the other hand, celebrated their Thanksgiving on the 2nd Monday of October. The calendar is regularly marked on every 2nd Monday of October for the occasion although not all quarters of Canada actually uphold the national holiday. It is only celebrated by the Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island.

Why is it Celebrated in The US and Canada? 

In Canada, the proclamation in the Parliament was officially done on 31st January 1957 while the celebration time for the Americans was harmonized by the then American President, President Franklin D. Roosevelt after he signed it as a law on December 26, 1941.

In the US, President Abraham Lincoln first made the promulgation of the celebration in 1863 but due to the lack of uniformity in celebration of the occasion, a bill signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 consolidated and unified the celebrations across the various US states.

The foods are prepared traditionally with traditional spices and it is a major part of the of Thanksgiving celebrations. In most cases, the families bond and catch up on tales of individual lives from the kitchen whilst the preparation of foods is ongoing and traditional foods served are turkey, stuffing, gravy, some of the Mashed melon, baked sweet potatoes, pecan pies, pumpkin pies, candied yams, cornbread, mashed Irish potatoes mixed with meat stock or gravy, and cranberry sauce, autumn vegetables for the Canadians and horn bearing fruits and grain are not left out of the table presentation.

Thanksgiving 2018
image source

Today, other foods have been included to the list such as cakes and pastries which were not originally part of the Thanksgiving menu. On the table, while feasting, the people could all take turns to state why and what they were truly thankful for in the year which goes around until everyone has had their own say.

The celebratory dinner is usually served on Sundays, while Friday kick starts massive sales as discounted items are opened to the public across the country which ushers in the Christmas off sales. The shops discounted sales is later moved to the internet on Monday for people who could not join the myriad crowds at the malls to shop. The shopping is followed closely by colorful parades performances (Macy’s and New York City Day Parades for Americans while the Canadians have the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest parade) and football games that are televised nationally.

Happy Thanksgiving 2018!


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