The History and Traditions of Thanksgiving

TLDR Thanksgiving is a uniquely American holiday that originated in the Americas and has spread to other countries. It has a complex history, with earlier celebrations in different parts of North America, and it became an organized holiday after the Revolutionary War. Thanksgiving is associated with traditions such as football games, parades, and the gifting of turkeys, and it is celebrated not only in the United States but also in Canada and Norfolk Island, Australia.

Timestamped Summary

00:00 Americans celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of November every year, which originated in the Americas but has spread to many other countries, and has unique traditions not shared with any other holiday.
01:46 The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was not actually the first Thanksgiving in North America, as there were earlier celebrations in Virginia, Florida, and even Canada, and the 1621 feast was never referred to as Thanksgiving in any of the written accounts.
03:27 The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was more of a harvest festival than a Thanksgiving, and it was not the harmonious event between Pilgrims and natives that it is often portrayed as.
04:55 The creation of Thanksgiving as an organized holiday didn't occur until after the Revolutionary War, with the First Continental Congress issuing a proclamation for a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1777, and it wasn't until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln officially declared Thanksgiving as a holiday.
06:33 Turkeys became associated with Thanksgiving because they are native to North America, large enough to feed a big feast, and easier to eat in the fall rather than feed through the winter, and the first frozen TV dinner was a Thanksgiving turkey dinner.
08:06 Thanksgiving traditions include football games, parades sponsored by department stores, the gifting of turkeys to the White House, and the holiday is not exclusive to the United States, as it is also celebrated in Canada and Norfolk Island, Australia.
09:36 Thanksgiving is a unique holiday that is not explicitly religious, nationalistic, or tied to a single person, making it a uniquely American holiday.
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