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Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. While it mayhave been religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.[1]

In the United States, Thanksgiving Day falls on the fourth Thursday of November. In Canada it iscelebrated on the second Monday in October.

The precise historical origin of the holiday is disputed. Although Americans commonly believe that the first Thanksgiving happened in 1621, at PlymouthPlantation, in Massachusetts, there is strong evidence for earlier celebrations in Canada (1578) and by Spanish explorers in Florida(1565).

Thanksgiving Day is also celebrated in the Netherlands. Adifferent holiday which uses the same name is celebrated at a similar time of year in the island of Grenada.

In the United States
While not the first thanksgiving of any sort on thecontinent, the traditional origin of modern Thanksgiving in the United States is generally regarded to be the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in Massachusetts in 1621. Thiscelebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original Thirteen Colonies that later were to become the United States. This Thanksgiving was modeled after harvest festivalsthat were commonplace in Europe at the time. According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual servicesof thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574, while they were staying in Leiden.

Author and teacher Robyn Gioia and Michael Gannon of the University of Florida haveargued that the earliest attested "thanksgiving" celebration in what is now the United States was celebrated by the Spanish on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida.

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