Definition of thanksgiving noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˌθæŋksˈɡɪvɪŋ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˌθæŋksˈɡɪvɪŋ//
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  1. 1Thanksgiving (Day) [uncountable, countable] a public holiday in the US (on the fourth Thursday in November) and in Canada (on the second Monday in October), originally to give thanks to God for the harvest and for health We always eat turkey on Thanksgiving. Are you going home for Thanksgiving? compare harvest festival CultureThanksgivingThanksgiving is celebrated in the US on the fourth Thursday in November. For many Americans it is the most important holiday apart from Christmas. Schools, offices and most businesses close for Thanksgiving, and many people make the whole weekend a vacation.Thanksgiving is associated with the time when Europeans first came to North America. In 1620 the ship the Mayflower arrived, bringing about 150 people who today are usually called Pilgrims. They arrived at the beginning of a very hard winter and could not find enough to eat, so many of them died. But in the following summer Native Americans showed them what foods were safe to eat, so that they could save food for the next winter. They held a big celebration to thank God and the Native Americans for the fact that they had survived.Today people celebrate Thanksgiving to remember these early days. The most important part of the celebration is a traditional dinner with foods that come from North America. The meal includes turkey (= a bird similar to a chicken, but larger), sweet potatoes or yams, and cranberries, which are made into a kind of sauce or jelly. The turkey is filled with stuffing or dressing, and many families have their own special recipe. Dessert is pumpkin made into a pie.On Thanksgiving there are special television programmes and sports events. In New York there is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, when a long line of people wearing fancy costumes march through the streets with large balloons in the shape of imaginary characters. Thanksgiving is considered the beginning of the Christmas period, and the next day many people go out to shop for Christmas presents.
  2. 2[uncountable] (formal) the expression of thanks to God
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: thanksgiving

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