Thanksgiving 2021 arrives in November, and we’ve got answers to all your pressing Thanksgiving questions—and maybe some fun facts you never knew.
When is Thanksgiving 2020, what is Thanksgiving, and more facts and info - Thanksgiving meal with turkey
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'Tis the season for Thanksgiving planning, and so many of us are starting to gather around our hearths to figure out how to carve a turkey and the best ways to share our Thanksgiving wishes. Last year around this time, the world looked a little different. We were mostly looking for ways to celebrate Thanksgiving virtually during the pandemic. But thankfully, Thanksgiving 2021 is shaping up to look more how we remember it.

As we prepare to feast, host Friendsgiving, and brainstorm conversation starters for the dinner table, people all around the country have been googling numerous Thanksgiving-related questions, including "When is Thanksgiving?" and "Why did the pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving?"—which just goes to show that you can celebrate Thanksgiving and share Thanksgiving quotes for your whole life and still not know much about the holiday.

Listen—you're busy right now. You've got enough on your plate tackling all the best Thanksgiving episodes of your favorite shows, planning Thanksgiving table decor, and trying to remember how to properly set the table. Let this be a source of Thanksgiving relief for you.

Here you'll find the answers to the most common Thanksgiving questions people ask around this time of year. We've covered everything including the history behind the holiday, why some Americans celebrate National Day of Mourning on Thanksgiving, and, of course, specifics about the meal's star player: the turkey. Read on, and then prep for Thanksgiving Day 2021 knowing you're well prepared.

When is Thanksgiving Day 2019
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1 When is Thanksgiving 2021?

Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, November 25, 2021. Thanksgiving is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, so you can map out Turkey Days for years to come.

Thanksgiving 2018 Facts: When was the first Thanksgiving?
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2 When was the first Thanksgiving?

According to the History Channel, the first sign of our Thanksgiving tradition occurred in 1621 when the Native American tribe Wampanoag joined the pilgrims in Plymouth (the ones who came over on the Mayflower) for an autumn harvest festival. After that, different colonies and states celebrated their own versions of thanksgiving celebrations until 1863, when Thanksgiving Day became a national holiday.

Thanksgiving 2018 Facts: Why Did the Pilgrims Celebrate the First Thanksgiving?
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3 Why did the pilgrims celebrate the first Thanksgiving?

The pilgrims had a pretty rough time when they first got to New England. Many didn't survive the first harsh winter, and a second would have likely killed them all if it weren't for the generosity of the indigenous Wampanoag people. The Native Americans taught the colonists how to successfully harvest the land, and it was this act of fellowship that garnered a successful harvest that next fall. To celebrate, Governor William Bradford organized the first Thanksgiving celebration.

Thanksgiving 2018 Facts: How Long Did the First Thanksgiving Last
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4 How long did the first Thanksgiving last?

While we don't know if the first colonists at Plymouth used the term "Thanksgiving" to describe their shared feast, we do know that the first iteration of the holiday was a three-day celebration. The History Channel notes that records from the settlers' journals show the first Thanksgiving menu was a tad different than what we've become accustomed to, featuring deer brought over by the Wampanoag guests and no pies or desserts because the Mayflower's sugar supply was so low.

5 Why is the story of Thanksgiving controversial?

While it's true the first Thanksgiving was peaceful, the pilgrims stole Native American land upon their arrival in America, which led to the deaths of thousands of indigenous people and deep cultural wounds. Thanksgiving signifies a whitewashing of history where the relationship between European settlers and the Wampanoag is depicted as one of fellowship and respect. This is why people protest the holiday each year and gather for events like National Day of Mourning, which honor the factual history of Thanksgiving and our Native American ancestors.

6 What president made Thanksgiving a national holiday?

Contrary to popular belief that George Washington mandated the day, it was actually Abraham Lincoln who made it a national tradition to give thanks in November. George Washington was the first president to tell Americans to observe the holiday—and John Adams and James Madison followed suit—but until Lincoln, the day was not an annual holiday and, if celebrated by states, was observed on different days around the country.

Thanksgiving 2018 Facts: What Is a Baby Turkey Called?
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7 What is a baby turkey called?

A baby turkey is called a "poult," according to Merriam-Webster's online dictionary. The term was first used in the 15th century. Turkeys are among a group of birds called fowl, which include many birds domesticated and kept for their eggs and meat such as chickens, pheasants, and ducks. According to the Baltimore Bird Club, a group of turkeys is called a "rafter," and PBS notes that a male turkey is referred to as a "tom," while a female is a "hen."

Thanksgiving 2018 Facts: Canada Thanksgiving
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8 When is Thanksgiving in Canada?

Canada also has a Thanksgiving Day, though it's different from its American counterpart. Also a day for giving thanks, the day is celebrated on the second Monday of October by our northern neighbors. (That will be Monday, October 11, in 2021.) According to TIME, Canada's Thanksgiving origins also begin with the explorer who first discovered the land, but then transitioned to a day when the people there could celebrate not being American (rude). They were happy to be Canadians because they avoided having to fight (and die) in the Civil War. Eventually, it became a day to celebrate a year of bountiful harvest, and they enjoy a meal similar to ours with turkey, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes.

9 When is Thanksgiving 2022?

For you early planners, Thanksgiving 2022 will be Thursday, November 24. That should give you plenty of time to book your flights ahead and make your travel arrangements—and figure out who's hosting next year.