Thursday November 25 2021 marks American Thanksgiving, a holiday that us Brits are usually vaguely familiar with thanks to exposure to various US sitcoms. 

While we may not celebrate Thanksgiving here, it is such a big deal in the states that it is a national holiday. 

Friends and family gather together over turkey to give thanks - but what exactly is behind the tradition? 

Here's everything you need to know about why Thanksgiving is celebrated and what to expect from the holiday...

What is Thanksgiving? 

Thanksgiving is a holiday celebrated in America on the fourth Thursday of November each year. 

While Canada also observe Thanksgiving, it is celebrated in October there. 

Thanksgiving dates all the way back to 1620, when 102 people left a dock in England on a ship to start new lives in the states. 

When they arrived, these colonists, who became known as the pilgrims, struggled to grow and harvest food. 

They were helped by local Native Americans, who taught them how to use the land. 

In response, in November 1621, the pilgrims invited the Native Americans for a big feast as an act of thanks, where they all ate the food they had grown. 

While this joining together marked the first Thanksgiving celebration, relations between the two groups soon deteriorated and many years of conflict followed. 

Does the UK celebrate Thanksgiving? 

No - Thanksgiving is not widely celebrated in the UK although often Americans who live here invite British friends and family to join festivities. 

Canada on the other hand does mark Thanksgiving, but this takes place on the second Monday of October and is often referred to as Canadian Thanksgiving. 

What do you eat on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving celebrations traditionally revolve around a large meal, similar to our Christmas dinner in the UK. 

The menu is likely to feature turkey, mashed potato, pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce. 

Dishes like macaroni cheese may also make an appearance, while more modern dishes have gone viral in recent years, including sweet potato mash with marshmallow topping. 

What is the Thanksgiving Day parade? 

The Thanksgiving Day Parade takes place in New York City every year, hosted by department store Macy's. 

It is the world's biggest parade, first starting in 1924, and features massive balloons in the place of live zoo animals which were part of the early events.