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An annual holiday in the USA and Canada for expressing thanks to God for the harvest and other blessings. The original Thanksgiving of the Pilgrims was ordered by Governor Bradford after the first harvest in Plymouth Colony (1621). Special days were often appointed in Puritan New England for thanksgiving or fasting. Beginning in Connecticut (1649), the observance of an annual harvest festival spread throughout New England by the end of the eighteenth century George Washington proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving in 1789. With Lincoln's proclamation (1863) it became an annual observance. By an act of Congress (1941)is the fourth Thursday of November. Although church services may be held, Thanksgiving is typically a family festival. The second Monday in October is observed in Canada.