This year, the national Thanksgiving holiday in the United States falls earlier than usual, giving Orthodox Christians who traditionally celebrate with meats an additional few days to consume any leftovers. Assuming that the United States still exists and celebrates the traditional Thanksgiving festival next year, 2013 will mark the first time since 2002 that Thanksgiving falls on November 28th (New Style), the beginning of the Nativity Fast.
American Thanksgiving in its present form as an annual holiday was inaugurated by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, although thanksgiving celebrations extend back to the colonial period. It is one of the few days in the American civil calendar associated historically with prayer and specifically with the act of giving thanks to God.
Needless to say, this fact therefore leaves Thanksgiving in the American public square of debate. Some Americans believe that Thanksgiving represents a day of colonial conquest and therefore should be abolished out of respect for Native American cultures. Some atheists believe they can be generally thankful to others; while others have called for the abolition of the holiday. Among Orthodox Christians there is much rarer debate as to whether to maintain a celebration of secular holidays.
New Calendarists in the U.S. are generally permitted to break the fast for the secular holiday, since it invariably falls within the Nativity fast on the Gregorian calendar.