People in the United States, Canada and a handful of other countries around the world are counting down to Thanksgiving, one of their most important annual holidays.
In the UK, the idea of having an enormous roast dinner-style feast a month before Christmas may feel a bit much, but for many Americans it is the more important holiday.
When is Thanksgiving:
In the US, Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, which means that this year it falls on Thursday 25 November.
However, in Canada it is celebrated earlier on the second Monday of October meaning it had been celebrated on 11 October.
Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a regular national day of thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November in 1863.
The tradition has remained the same ever since, apart from in 1940 and 1941, when President Franklin Roosevelt attempted to move the celebration to the third Thursday of the month for commercial reasons.
History of Thanksgiving Day:
The origins of Thanksgiving are traced back to September 1620, when a small ship called the Mayflower left its dock in England carrying 102 pilgrims seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith.
They were drawn to America, then called the New World, by the promise of prosperity and the opportunity to own their own land.
In 1621 these colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that they had laboured together to produce the first ever Thanksgiving celebration in Plymouth, which is in modern-day Massachusetts.
It is said a Native American named Squanto was crucial to the survival of the pilgrims during their first year. He showed them how to grow corn, catch fish, avoid poisonous plants and extract sap from maple trees. He also helped them broker an alliance with the Wampanoag.
However, this was the only successful joining together of natives and colonists during this period, and many Native Americans believe Thanksgiving celebrations brush over a history which has often seen them persecuted and killed.
How is it celebrated:
Food is the central part of Thanksgiving. People normally eat turkey, which is either roasted in the oven or deep fried.
Other traditional dishes include mashed potato, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce.
Parades have become a big part of the holiday across the US. Among the largest in the country is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York City, which is held by the department store and attracts more than two million spectators every year as well as a large television audience.
Another tradition sees the President “pardoning” a live Thanksgiving turkey every year by sending them to a farm to live out the rest of their days instead of being sent to the slaughter.
Since the 1970s, many Native Americans and protesters instead mark the holiday as a “National Day of Mourning” to commemorate those who lost their lives at the hands of the foreign settlers when America was colonised