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Thanksgiving is Thursday November 25th
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Observed on the fourth Thursday in November each year, American Thanksgiving is second only to Christmas Day in scope and celebration. Some cities stage long, elaborate parades: Macy's New York City Thanksgiving Day Parade, which features giant floats and hundreds of marching bands, has entertained thousands since 1924.
Since the Pilgrims' first harvest, this holiday continues to be observed at the time of year when New England settlers would slaughter livestock (turkeys and geese were in their prime at this time of year), and stock their cellars with fruit and vegetables (pumpkins, turnips, parsnips, carrots) in preparation for the harsh winter ahead. The last harvest feast meant the last big meal for the season: with winter on the horizon, food would be scarce.
Two themes continue to dominate the Thanksgiving holiday: sports and food. The first Thanksgiving in 1621, lasted for three days and was celebrated by both the Pilgrim settlers and the native peoples who had helped the colony survive their first year. People of both cultures played "stool ball," a type of croquet game, and competed against one another in races and jumping games. Today, families continue to make Thanksgiving Day an active holiday, with football and bicycle races having replaced the original sporting events.
While the first Thanksgiving celebrated was a success, it was thanks to one Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, that the modern Thanksgiving holiday came to be. For 40 years, Ms. Hale wrote editorials and letters to governors and presidents persuading them to declare a national holiday to show "the purest feelings of patriotism and the deepest emotions of thankfulness." Her dream was finally realized in 1863, when President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a national day of Thanksgiving.
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