The American holiday, Thanksgiving, has been celebrated since the year 1621. That’s nearly 400 years ago!
The first Thanksgiving was celebrated on November 26, 1621. It started with a group of people, pilgrims, who sailed from Plymouth, England on the Mayflower to come to the new world. The Mayflower carried 102 passengers on its voyage but only 53 survived, due to disease and the cold winters overseas. After 66 days the ship landed at the tip of the Cape Cod area, but should have landed much farther south, in the mouth of the Hudson River. A month later, they crossed Massachusetts Bay and began establishing their village, Plymouth, named after their town in England.
After the harsh winter in the new land, they were greeted in english by a member of the Abenaki tribe and Squanto, a member of the Patuxet tribe, who was captured by settlers but managed to escape. They showed the malnourished and ill pilgrims how to grow corn, collect sap from trees, catch fish, and to avoid poisonous plants. They made allies with the Wampanoag tribe and learned how to grow more crops and hunt.
After their first successful corn harvest, governor William Bradford the pilgrims hosted the first ever Thanksgiving feast. While we don’t know the exact menu, we do know that it had corn, fruit, and venison (deer meat). Because the pilgrims had no oven or stove on the Mayflower, we think that they used native american techniques to prepare the food.
Two years later the same pilgrims hosted a three day religious fast that became the 2nd Thanksgiving. After the American Revolution, new president George Washington called for the first Thanksgiving proclamation to celebrate the end of the war and the country's independence. In 1817, New York along with several other states officially adopted Thanksgiving as a holiday. Thanksgiving became a national holiday in 1863 and was set to be held on the last Thursday in November. This was changed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, who moved the holiday up a week to save retail stores during the Great Depression. This was known as Franksgiving, the public was not in favor of this bill and eventually the president moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November instead.
Do you celebrate Thanksgiving?
What does your Thanksgiving meal consist of?
What is your favorite Thanksgiving dish?