Crossway, a non-profit Christian ministry, offers five things you should know about Thanksgiving.
1 Numerous nations celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday.
"Many Americans consider Thanksgiving to be the quintessentially American holiday. It marks the beginning of our “holiday season,” a period that lasts into Christmas and through New Year’s Day. But many nations celebrate a Thanksgiving holiday, including Canada, Germany, and Japan. The Canadian Thanksgiving is influenced in many ways by the American version of the holiday."
2 Abraham Lincoln made Thanksgiving an ongoing federal holiday.
"1863 was arguably the most important year of the Civil War. The Emancipation Proclamation was issued on the first day of that year and the battles of Gettysburg and Vicksburg were fought that summer. President Lincoln called for a Thanksgiving holiday to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November, harkening back to Washington’s first Thanksgiving holiday at the same time of year. It has been celebrated annually ever since."
3 Every year, the President of the United States issues a Thanksgiving Day proclamation.
"Since the Civil War era, every US President has followed the example of Washington and Lincoln by issuing an annual Thanksgiving Day proclamation. A nearly complete list of proclamations is available online. Reading through the proclamations shows how Presidents regularly reinterpreted the Pilgrims as quintessential Americans who offered moral lessons for contemporary citizens in any given year."
4 Americans eat a lot of turkey at Thanksgiving.
"According to the website Turkey Facts as much as 88% of Americans eat turkey at Thanksgiving. Around 46 million turkeys are eaten at Thanksgiving, which is about twice as much turkey as is eaten at Christmas. Over 730 million pounds of turkey are consumed annually and around 250 million turkeys are raised in the USA in any given year."
5 George Washington was the first American president to call for an official Thanksgiving holiday.
"Congress called for several days of thanksgiving during the Revolutionary era and the years shortly thereafter. Often, these days also emphasized the need for prayer and “humiliation” (repentance). In 1789, George Washington proclaimed November 26 to be the first official Thanksgiving holiday."
— Ronn Rowland