Thanksgiving-day an annual religious festival observed in the United States. It owes its origin to the desire of the Puritans for greater simplicity in the forms of worship of the Established Church, and a purpose not to celebrate any of the numerous festival-days observed by that Church. An occasional day of thanksgiving has been recommended by the civil authorities of Europe, and such a day was observed in Leyden, Holland, Oct. 3, 1575, the first anniversary of the deliverance of that city from siege. Before the adoption of an annual thanksgiving-day, we find mention of several appointed for special reasons. After the first harvest at Plymouth, in 1621,'Gov. Bradford sent four men out fowling, that they "might after a more special manner rejoice together." In July, 1623, the governor appointed a day of thanksgiving for rain, after a long drought, and the records show a similar appointment in 1632 because of the arrival of supplies from Ireland. There is also record of the appointment of days of thanksgiving in Massachusetts in 1632, 1633, 1634, 1637, 1638, and 1639, and in Plymouth in 1651,1668, 1680 (when the form of the recommendation indicates that it had become an annual custom), 1689, and 1690. The Dutch governors of New Netherland in 1644, 1645, 1655, and 1664, and the English governors of New York in 1755 and 1760, appointed days of thanksgiving. During the Revolution, Thanksgiving-day was observed by the nation, being annually recommended by Congress; but there was no national appointment between the general thanksgiving for peace in 1784 and 1789, when president Washington recommended a day of thanksgiving for the adoption of the constitution. Since that time special days have been set apart both by presidents and governors until 1864, when the present practice was adopted of a national annual thanksgiving. The president issues an annual proclamation, followed by the governors of the several states and mayors of the principal cities. Custom has fixed the time for the last Thursday in November.

"Thanksgiving." topical outline.

Bible concordance for THANKSGIVING.

Definition of thanksgiving

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