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Autumn harvests have been celebrated with feasts since before people started telling time. Historians tell us the harvest feast the Americans observe today began in Virginia 400 years ago when English Protestant settlers decided the day of their arrival in the New World should be celebrated each year. 

Few are aware the Canadians established a national holiday and harvest festival of giving thanks 40 years before the U.S. did. Theirs is in October. Liberians base their Thanksgiving Day on the traditional American celebration and Ghanians celebrate theirs during the yam harvest season each year. People who live in Leiden, Netherlands are descended from the Pilgrims who came there to avoid persecution before sailing for America in 1620. The Leideners celebrate the same way and the same day as the Pilgrims.

A special group of American Thanksgiving celebrants watches football on television all day long and into the night

When told dinner’s ready, they refuse to come to the table, saying there are only two minutes until the end of the game. Cooks who don’t even watch football know that two minutes is at least half an hour, never mind overtime.

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