Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving

Thanksgiving and Friendsgiving

Americanism: Thanksgiving

What is Thanksgiving?

Many countries across the globe celebrate the new harvest. Canada celebrated their Thanksgiving in October. In Austria, Germany, and Switzerland, there is the Erntedankfest (harvest festival). The Yam Festival is in Ghana and Nigeria, and South Korea celebrates Chuseok. These are just a few examples.

Although it had been unofficially celebrated for years by individual states, Thanksgiving was pronounced to be an official holiday in the United States by President Abraham Lincoln during the middle of the Civil War in 1863. This holiday was supposed to mirror the “first” Thanksgiving in 1621 at Plymouth Colony; the details of the celebration of this first successful harvest have been unclear and have since been mythologized.

What Thanksgiving in the U.S. means today is usually a time to be with family and friends and enjoy good food (and perhaps American football).

Some people take issue with the rosy picture of the origins of Thanksgiving because of the effect on native and indigenous peoples already living here. You can read the more traditional history of Thanksgiving and the alternate history and decide for yourself.

Regardless of its origins, on the fourth Thursday of November many in the United States celebrate this non-religious holiday.

What is Friendsgiving?

The name Friendsgiving is a combination of “friends” and “Thanksgiving,” and the idea is to celebrate the holiday and to enjoy Thanksgiving classic dishes (or simply good, delicious foods) with your friends. Friendsgiving is a customizable modern tradition that’s taken off in recent years.

Friendsgiving is a relatively recent word; the earliest print uses of it date back to 2007, where it shows up in Usenet posts and on Twitter to refer to this informal meal. The word slowly trickled into use as more and more people planned Friendsgivings. For more information, see the article, “What Is Friendsgiving?” or the Merriam-Webster’s post, “Where Does ‘Friendsgiving’ Come From?”