The American Thanksgiving falls on the fourth Thursday of November. It was established by President Abraham Lincoln in 1865 as a national holiday commemorating the early settlers’ gratefulness for their first harvest in the “New World.” It is celebrated by a feast representing abundance and the first harvest and is a time of family gatherings, with extensive traveling throughout the country. Although presented as a day of national unity with a formulaic menu, extensive variations across regions, and between ethnic, religious and socio-economic groups occur. There also are disputes over the actual history behind the holiday and the interpretations of it. Be that as it may, the holiday tends to be a significant one for many Americans, carrying potent memories of past celebrations, of gatherings of family and friends, and of favorite dishes.
For more about the American Thanksgiving Holiday meal, see links:
History and Meanings of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Dinner Menus and Variations
Foodways of Thanksgiving (Activities surrounding the Meal)
Family Holiday Meals as Rituals
Thanksgiving Meals–Disaster Stories