With another year almost coming to a close, it’s a good time to gather around with friends and family for Thanksgiving. This week we would like to delve a bit deeper than the conventional turkey dinner and look at how Thanksgiving became a national holiday.

The origin of Thanksgiving can be traced back to the year 1621, when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebrations in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Homemade Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner with Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, and Corn
Homemade Turkey Thanksgiving Dinner with Mashed Potatoes, Stuffing, and Corn

With a bit of historical context in hand, we can now turn to how Thanksgiving is celebrated today. Thanksgiving today has shed most of its religious significance and has become a day where friends and family gather over dinner to feast on its hallmark dish, the thanksgiving turkey.  Today, however, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. In addition, and putting it quite simply, thanksgiving has come to signify a day where people give thanks for what they have and fostering a sense of giving to those around you.

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Other festivities include cooking together, community service, and hosting dinners for those who are less fortunate. We, at Zapya, recognize that not everyone around the world has the luxury or opportunity to spend thanksgiving with loved ones. So to contribute to spirit of giving, Zapya has launched an online activity “Give Thanks, Share Joy” (click here to participate), where every 1000 Likes on our Thanksgiving Facebook post will result in 10 USD being donated to UNICEF’s save the children fund.

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Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving from Zapya!

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