What Is The Meaning Of Thanksgiving? It May Not Be What You Think

Oct, 05 2022
Posted by Frank Merino
What immediately comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Observing the Macy's Day parade, consuming an enormous meal with all the trimmings, and watching football with family? Or perhaps Black Friday and the start of the holiday season are your primary concern. Thanksgiving's significance has changed several times over the years. Do you comprehend the true meaning of this holiday? This article will provide answers to the question, "What is the meaning of Thanksgiving?"
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    What Is The Meaning Of Thanksgiving? It May Not Be What You Think

    What immediately comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Observing the Macy's Day parade, consuming an enormous meal with all the trimmings, and watching football with family? Or perhaps Black Friday and the start of the holiday season are your primary concern. Thanksgiving's significance has changed several times over the years. Do you comprehend the true meaning of this holiday? This article will provide answers to the question, "What is the meaning of Thanksgiving?"

    What is Thanksgiving Day?

    Thanksgiving, also known as Thanksgiving Day, began as a harvest celebration to give thanks to God for the bountiful harvest of the previous autumn. Thanksgiving, which is celebrated primarily in the United States but also in many other nations, symbolizes the gratitude that people have for God's mercy and blessings throughout the year, particularly during harvest time.

    Thanksgiving is a liturgical holiday comparable to harvest festivals in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. On the Sunday of the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, churches are decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest symbols. There are performances of English and European harvest hymns, as well as recitations of biblical passages relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.

    In addition to thanking God, Thanksgiving involves thanking one's neighbors. It also has to do with taking pleasure in what you've worked so hard and long for over the past year. The traditional Thanksgiving meal shared with family, friends, and the larger community is a crucial gathering that strengthens the core concepts of the holiday. Taking advantage of the plentiful harvest is symbolized by eating the traditional Thanksgiving turkey and side dishes.

    The history of Thanksgiving

    In 1621, the Mayflower brought about 100 European settlers from England, the majority of whom were looking for religious freedom. This is when Thanksgiving first appeared in America.

    After reaching Cape Cod in November, these Pilgrims started their colonization of the Algonquin Tribes' lands in present-day Massachusetts and New England.
    More than half of the new population died during those first, chilly months as a result of inadequate housing and nutrition. The few survivors held a three-day feast to honor the harvest and show their appreciation to the native tribes who helped them survive the harsh winter.
    In the two centuries that followed, the harvest was celebrated, but not as a customary holiday. Colonies, towns, and villages would hold their own "Thanksgivings" in order to commemorate success in the frequent battles with indigenous tribes. This was merely a victory celebration over a group of individuals who had, at least in part, welcomed and assisted these immigrants to the country in the past. There was no national heritage or holiday represented in any way by these celebrations, which were as arbitrary as the town desired.
    There was no sense of a national holiday in these small celebrations. This aspect of the custom didn't even begin to take shape until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November to be a national holiday in remembrance of the victory at Gettysburg, reviving the roots of military or hegemonic victory evident in the celebrations of a young colonial society. Pumpkin pies, turkey, cranberry sauce, three different kinds of potatoes, and gravy are now included in the custom. This more-or-less developed into tradition until President Teddy Roosevelt declared the third Thursday of November to be Thanksgiving.
    In 1941, the president and Congress proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday to clear up any misunderstandings. Today, the fourth Thursday in November is set aside to honor it.

    What is the meaning of Thanksgiving?

    The Real Celebration

    Many of us associate Thanksgiving with feasting, four-day weekends, football games, floats, family gatherings, or events that serve as a prelude to the Christmas season. But the "first Thanksgiving" was only a small gathering rather than a feast or a holiday. The Pilgrims lost 46 of their original 102 colonists after the Mayflower docked at Plymouth Rock on December 11, 1620. The remaining Pilgrims made it through the harsh winter with the aid of 91 Indians, and they produced a plentiful harvest in 1621. The Pilgrims and locals joined together to observe "Thanksgiving" as part of a three-day traditional English harvest festival.

    Expressions of Gratitude

    Over the years, Thanksgiving has come to represent many different things, including an expression of gratitude for survival, a council's recognition of a thriving community, the submission of local natives, and the defeat of over the British. Throughout the years, families have added new traditions to the Thanksgiving holiday in an effort to hold on to what they value most.

    • To gather in unity - It's inspiring and revitalizing to see people unite for a common cause. It's a time of healing and making amends for past hurts. When we open up about our successes as well as our failures, we give each other strength and hope.
    • To educate the young - Each new generation gives renewed meaning and value to the storied past of their ancestors. A Thanksgiving family legacy can be anything from faded photographs to cherished trinkets to a special prayer said before the meal.
    • To prepare the heart - We reflect with humility on all the gifts (family, friends, health) that permeate our lives out of gratitude. By expressing gratitude, we choose to extend ourselves and help those less fortunate. We are able to help others with our resources because of the generosity of our hearts.

    Praise to God

    The meaning of thanksgiving in the Bible reflected adoration, sacrifice, praise, or an offering. Thanksgiving was an expression of gratitude to God as a form of worship. Rarely, if ever, was gratitude extended to anyone or anything other than God.
    The original meaning of Thanksgiving is centered on relationships. Thanksgiving is a divine-human relationship. The Pilgrims, upon their arrival in New Plymouth, penned The Mayflower Compact, which honored God. Thanksgiving begins with recognizing God as trustworthy and sincerely thanking Him in advance for His abundant blessings. Thanksgiving is a state of mind that strengthens a close relationship with God.

    Some Thanksgiving Traditions

    Americans in the United States celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November each year. The majority of families continue the traditions that were established at the first Thanksgiving, while others have developed their own traditions. Here are a few widespread traditions associated with Thanksgiving.


    Typically, spending time with family is one of the best aspects of Thanksgiving. Numerous individuals travel long distances by car, train, or airplane to visit loved ones who live far away. Thanksgiving is frequently one of the busiest travel days of the year.

    The Turkey Pardon

    On Thanksgiving, the president always receives two live turkeys as a gift. The National Thanksgiving Turkeys are typically "pardoned" by the president during a ceremony at the White House so they can live on a farm.

    The Feast

    Traditional foods are served at Thanksgiving celebrations. Frequently, the entire family participates in the cooking process. Traditional dishes include turkey, stuffing, gravy, sweet potatoes, cornbread, mashed potatoes, and cranberry sauce. After a meal, pie is frequently served as dessert. Common pies include pumpkin, pecan, sweet potato, and apple.

    Some families opt for a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner instead of a stuffed turkey. They may consume tofu-based vegetarian turkey. Others eat salads, fruit and vegetable dishes, and squash.

    The Wishbone

    Some Thanksgiving celebrations involve breaking the turkey's wishbone. The wishbone is located in the turkey's chest, attached to the breast meat. After the meat has been removed and the wishbone has had time to dry and become brittle, two individuals take one end of the wishbone, make a wish, and then pluck it. Whoever takes the largest portion of the bone obtains their desire.


    Families enjoy watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, which features marching bands, floats, Broadway tunes, performers, and enormous helium balloons! The sport of football is a popular spectator sport, so perhaps your family would enjoy playing a game outdoors.

    Helping Others

    Thanksgiving is a wonderful opportunity to assist those who are less fortunate than you. Some individuals donate to shelters or participate in canned food drives, while others serve food at homeless shelters as volunteers.

    After The Meal

    We've finished eating and put away the dishes... It's time to kick back and unwind. Some households choose to take in the outdoors by strolling, cycling, or napping. Still others play card or board games with friends.

    Thanksgiving Controversies

    Some academics have cast doubt on whether or not the Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth was the first of its kind in the United States. Historians have documented other thanksgiving feasts held by European settlers in North America before the time of the Pilgrims. For example, in 1565, after celebrating mass to give thanks to God for his crew's safe arrival in St. Augustine, Florida, the Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilé invited members of the local Timucua tribe to dinner. When 38 British settlers arrived at what would become known as Berkeley Hundred on the James River in Virginia on December 4, 1619, they found a proclamation declaring that day to be "a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."

    A number of Native Americans and others disagree with how the Thanksgiving story is presented to the American public, particularly schoolchildren. According to them, the traditional narrative paints a deceptively rosy picture of relations between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag, concealing the bloody history of conflict between Native Americans and European settlers that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands. Since 1970, on the day designated as Thanksgiving, protesters have gathered at the top of Cole's Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to observe a "National Day of Mourning." Other regions of the country host events of a similar nature.


    The weather is turning cooler, and we are beginning to long for turkey and family time. On what date will the largest feast of the year take place? Make sure to plan your schedule in advance and inquire with your loved ones about the Thanksgiving menu this year.

    And at Printerval, we offer a vast selection of products that will make your Thanksgiving more meaningful than ever.

    Frank Merino-140490
    Posted by: Frank Merino

    Meet Frank Merino, a 32-year-old author at Printerval. Beyond his love for creativity and writing, Frank is skilled in designing personalized items. His passion lies in sharing joy and imparting knowledge and experiences with others.

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