America celebrates Thanksgiving Day on the fourth Thursday in November. It is a harvest festival that dates back to 1621, the year after Pilgrims from England arrived in Massachusetts.
The Pilgrims were the first settlers of America. They sailed away from England in September 1620, on a small ship called the Mayflower, in the hope of finding a new home where they could live in peace and freely practice their faith. It took them 66 days to reach America from England.
Only half of the 110 Pilgrims who left England in 1620 survived that first year. Many died during the first winter. The survivors turned for help to neighbouring Indians, who taught them how to plant corn and other crops. The next Autumn harvest was plentiful and inspired the Pilgrims to give thanks by holding a three-day feast.
Thanksgiving became an official national holiday 200 years later, when in 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November a national day of thanksgiving. I 1941 the US Congress passed a law officially establishing the celebration of Thanksgiving as the fourth Thursday in November.
The day after Thanksgiving is widely known as Black Friday and is often said to be the biggest Christmas shopping day in America.