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Thanksgiving Day is a day set aside each year for giving thanks to God for blessings received during the year. It is celebrated in the United States and Canada. The first Thanksgiving Days in New England were harvest festivals, or days for thanking God for plentiful crop. For thousands of years, people in many parts of the world have held harvest festivals. The American Thanksgiving Day probably grew out of England’s harvest-home celebrations. In the United States, Thanksgiving is usually a family day, celebrated with big dinners and joyous reunions. The first Thanksgiving in America was entirely religious. On Dec. 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Plantation, near what is now Charles City, Virginia. The group’s charter required that that day of arrival be observed yearly as a day of thanksgiving to God. The first Thanksgiving in New England was celebrated I Plymouth less than a year after the Plymouth colonists had settled in America. In early autumn, Governor William Gradford arranged a harvest festival to give thanks to God for the progress the colony had made. The festival lasted three days. Thanksgiving were held in Plymounth during the next several years, but no traditional date was set. In 1789, President George Washington issued a general proclamation naming November 26 a day of national thanksgiving, the same year, the Protestant Episcopal Church announced that the first Thursday in November would be a regular yearly day for giving thanks. For many years, the country had no regular national Thanksgiving Day. By 1830, New York had an official state thanksgiving. In 1855, Virginia became the first Southern state to adopt the custom. Congress ruled that after 1941 the fourth Thursday of November would be observed as Thanksgiving Day, legal federal holiday.