Although it is celebrated in a few other countries as well, Thanksgiving is a more popular festival within the United States of America and Canada. Thanksgiving Day is a festival that is observed as a day dedicated to thanking the Lord for granting a good harvest. Although both the countries celebrate it with a lot of enthusiasm and have declared a public holiday on the day officially, the US and the Canada have selected different days for celebrating Thanksgiving Day. The people of the United States observe the fourth Thursday in the month of November as the Thanksgiving Day or Thanksgiving Thursday, as it is called popularly. In Canada however, they have chosen to celebrate Thanksgiving on the second Monday in the month of October. It should be noted that the Thanksgiving Day in Canada coincides with the Columbus Day in the USA.
The festival or tradition of celebrating the harvest season with a Thanksgiving Day had originated in Europe and was brought here along with the Europeans when they came to America. However, the Native Americans had contributed significantly to its origin as well, because they too, celebrated a good harvest season during the same time. It is a bit hard because of the associated controversies and contrasting theories to determine when the “Thanksgiving Day” actually began in the US. Some say it was the Spanish who had celebrated Thanksgiving Day for the first time on American soil in 1565, at Saint Augustine, Florida. Some other historians relate the first Thanksgiving celebration in America to Charles City County, Virginia.
Although Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November now, it was always not the same though. Different states and regions used to celebrate Thanksgiving Day according to their own convenience and practice and thus, there were many Thanksgiving Days throughout the country. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln made an attempt to use the occasion to spread a sense of unity among the warring states of the north and the south. Thanksgiving Day was officially signed into being a national holiday by law on 26th December, 1941, by President Franklin Roosevelt and the date was now fixed to be the fourth Thursday in the month of November every year.