United States of America
The fourth Thursday of November is when Thanksgiving Day is observed in the United States. The famous holiday dates back to a well-known incident in 1621 when English pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving to express gratitude to the almighty and the local Wampanoag natives for their first successful harvest on the American soil. The occasion gained much importance thereafter with the U.S. President George Washington creating Thanksgiving Day as an American occasion on October 3, 1789. But Thanksgiving Day was first proclaimed as a national holiday in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln who declared the occasion to be observed henceforth on the final Thursday in November. The tradition continues to this day with the objective behind the celebration being the same, that of thanking the Lord for his grace and a bounteous annual crop. A federal holiday, as proclaimed in 1941, Thanksgiving Day witnesses a fervid annual celebration in the U.S. and is observed mainly with sumptuous feasts and colorful parades.
A typical Thanksgiving dinner comprises of such delicacies as the staple roasted turkey with pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, apple pie, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet corn, other fall vegetables. These cuisines are traditionally served during Thanksgiving and are inseparably associated to the festive menu even though many of them were not part of the first Thanksgiving Day dinner in 1621. Spectacular parades are also taken out in different parts of the nation on this day. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, an annual event in the New York City, is possibly the biggest procession in America celebrating the occasion. “6abc IKEA Thanksgiving Day Parade” in Philadelphia, “McDonald’s Thanksgiving Parade” in Chicago, “UBS Parade Spectacular” in Stamford are other notable Thanksgiving Day parades in the United States.
“Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day” (Dan pobjede i domovinske zahvalnosti) in Croatia is, unlike the U.S. Thanksgiving celebration, not a harvest festival but a commemoration of the seizure of the city of Knin by the Croatian Army during Operation Storm in the War of Independence, an event that broke the Republic of Serbian Krajina, a self-proclaimed Serb entity in Croatia.. A public holiday in Croatia, “Victory and Homeland Thanksgiving Day” is celebrated on August 5. The main celebration naturally takes place in the city of Knin where the observances begin with a mass and laying of wreaths in honor of those who died in the war, followed by parades and concerts. Thousands, including those in power in the country, attend the event. The highlight of the event is the ceremonially lifting of the Croatian flag on the Knin fortress.
In Grenada, Thanksgiving Day is annually observed on 25 October. It is a national holiday in the country and much like in Croatia, Thanksgiving Day in Grenada is observed with a different purpose. The holiday marks the anniversary of the Operation Urgent Fury, a U.S.-led military invasion of Croatia in 1983 to restore stability into the island country following the deposition and execution of Grenadan Prime Minister Maurice Bishop and some of his colleagues. Ceremonies, mostly of a formal nature, mark the observation of this day. 25 October being a public holiday, banks and most shops are closed during the entire day. However, the holiday is not given much importance in the rural regions and it is only in the cities that one gets to see the observances.
The Canadian celebration of Thanksgiving Day began in the year 1957 and has since been observed on the second Monday of October. The holiday commemorates the end of the harvest season and is a time to give thanks to the almighty for a good crop and other prosperous happenings in the past year. The observance of the occasion owes its roots to an explorer Martin Frobisher, who held a special thanksgiving ceremony in 1578 to celebrate his surviving a long journey in his quest to find a northern passage from Europe to Asia. Thanksgiving Day is a paid holiday in all Canadian provinces and territories. The modern observances of the occasion in Canada has people visiting their family members or friends who reside far away, or receiving them in their own homes. Special meals are prepared during the holiday and consists of traditional Thanksgiving foodstuffs like roast turkey, pumpkin, corn ears, pecan nuts and other seasonal produce. Many people seize the opportunity to enjoy a short vacation before winter sets in and indulge in outdoor activities like hiking and fishing.