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Thanksgiving Day in United States

Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. It precedes Black Friday.

Thanksgiving Day
Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday in the United States.
Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday in the United States.
©iStockphoto.com/Olga Lyubkina

What do people do?

Thanksgiving Day is traditionally a day for families and friends to get together for a special meal. The meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have.

Thanksgiving Day parades are held in some cities and towns on or around Thanksgiving Day. Some parades or festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season. Some people have a four-day weekend so it is a popular time for trips and to visit family and friends.

Public Life

Most government offices, businesses, schools and other organizations are closed on Thanksgiving Day. Many offices and businesses allow staff to have a four-day weekend so these offices and businesses are also closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. Public transit systems do not usually operate on their regular timetables.

Thanksgiving Day it is one of the busiest periods for travel in the USA. This can cause congestion and overcrowding. Seasonal parades and busy football games can cause disruption to local traffic.


Thanksgiving Day has been an annual holiday in the United States since 1863. Not everyone sees Thanksgiving Day as a cause for celebration. Each year since 1970, a group of Native Americans and their supporters have staged a protest for a National Day of Mourning at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts on Thanksgiving Day. American Indian Heritage Day is also observed at this time of the year.

There are claims that the first Thanksgiving Day was held in the city of El Paso, Texas in 1598. Another early event was held in 1619 in the Virginia Colony. Many people trace the origins of the modern Thanksgiving Day to the harvest celebration that the Pilgrims held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. However, their first true thanksgiving was in 1623, when they gave thanks for rain that ended a drought. These early thanksgivings took the form of a special church service, rather than a feast.

In the second half of the 1600s, thanksgivings after the harvest became more common and started to become annual events. However, it was celebrated on different days in different communities and in some places there were more than one thanksgiving each year. George Washington, the first president of the United States, proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving Day in 1789.

Thanksgiving Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
ThuNov 252010Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 242011Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 222012Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 282013Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 272014Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 262015Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 242016Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 232017Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 222018Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 282019Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 
ThuNov 262020Thanksgiving DayNational holiday 

Quick Facts

Thanksgiving Day in the United States is traditionally a holiday to give thanks for the food collected at the end of the harvest season.

Thanksgiving Day 2015

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Day 2016

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Name in other languages

Thanksgiving DayEnglish
Día de Acción de GraciasSpanish
חג ההודיהHebrew
عيد الشكرArabic

Alternative name


List of dates for other years

Related holidays

Other holidays in November 2015 in United States

Fun Holiday on November 26, 2015

Other calendars

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