Thanksgiving ( English : Thanksgiving ) is an annual feast is held mainly in the United States , Canada , several islands in the Caribbean and Liberia . The initial meaning is to celebrate the harvest and give thanks to God for a full and peaceful life. It is also an official holiday for all workers in the US and Canada. The date and place of the first is the subject of a little controversy. Although the earliest verified Thanksgiving took place on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida ,   the “first Thanksgiving” is traditionally considered took place in the colony of Plymouth in 1621. Today, in the United States , Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November so this date may not be the last Thursday of November as many people mistakenly believe (e.g. 2012). , November has 5 Thursdays). In Canada , where the harvest is earlier, the holiday is celebrated on the second Monday of October is associated with seasonal festivals that have been celebrated in Europe since ancient times. In the English tradition, the day of thanksgiving and the religious ceremony of thanksgiving became especially important during the Protestant Reformation in England during the reign of King Henry VIII . In North America , this festival was first held in Newfoundland by Martin Frobisher and the Frobisher Expedition in 1578, to give thanks to God for surviving the long and stormy journey from England.  Another festival was held on December 4, 1619, when 38 settlers from the Berkeley diocese disembarked in Virginia and gave thanks to God .