Home   Calendar   Holidays   the United States   Thanksgiving Day
Flag for USA

Thanksgiving Day in the United States

Thanksgiving Day in the United States is a holiday on the fourth Thursday of November. The day after is also known as Black Friday.

Is Thanksgiving Day a Public Holiday?

Thanksgiving Day is a public holiday. It is a day off for the general population, and schools and most businesses are closed.

Thanksgiving Day is a federal holiday in the United States.

©iStockphoto.com/Olga Lyubkina

Family Celebration

Thanksgiving Day is a day for people in the US to give thanks for what they have. Families and friends get together for a meal, which traditionally includes a roast turkey, stuffing, potatoes, vegetables, cranberry sauce, gravy, and pumpkin pie.

In some cities and towns, there are parades during the Thanksgiving weekend. In most areas, these festivities also mark the opening of the Christmas shopping season.

Long Weekend in More Than 20 States

The Day After Thanksgiving, also know as Black Friday, is a holiday in more than 20 states. It's common to take trips and visit family and friends during the long weekend.

Many Have the Day Off

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

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

US Holiday Since 1863

Thanksgiving Day has been an annual holiday in the United States since 1863. However, not everyone sees Thanksgiving Day as a cause for celebration.

Beginning in 1970, a group of Native Americans and their supporters have staged an annual 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 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, they were 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

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2015ThuNov 26Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2016ThuNov 24Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2017ThuNov 23Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2018ThuNov 22Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2019ThuNov 28Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2020ThuNov 26Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2021ThuNov 25Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2022ThuNov 24Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2023ThuNov 23Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2024ThuNov 28Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 
2025ThuNov 27Thanksgiving DayFederal Holiday 

You might also like

Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen!

Watch Comet 46P/Wirtanen!

All of December, this comet will be bright enough to see with the naked eye. Find the comet on our interactive night sky map and see when and where you can see it. more

Black Friday

Black Friday

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving Day in the USA. It is a busy shopping day and is a holiday in some states. more

Cyber Monday

Most online retailers in the US offer discounted prices on their products and services on Cyber Monday. more