Each year in November we all gather with our families and eat turkey, dressing, pumpkin pie, and plenty of other traditional foods. But, why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? And, how many of us know exactly how Thanksgiving originated? Most Americans think they have a pretty good idea, but its always nice to go over the beginning of Thanksgiving to remind us why we give thanks and how it all really started.
Interestingly enough there are several ideas of how Thanksgiving originated. The most common one is discussed below.
The common idea is that Thanksgiving originated with the Pilgrims. Most Americans have this idea that when the Pilgrims landed in America and settled themselves they wanted to give thanks and appreciation for making it through the long journey. Also, they ended up sharing their feast with the Native Americans. Or did they?
The fact is that the first Thanksgiving was shared between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians in 1621. The celebration was more of a harvest festival with sports, games, food, dancing, singing, and revelry. When it comes to the food they ate the menu wasnt much like todays. Instead, it consisted of venison, fowl, and other foods prepared by the pilgrims.
Interestingly enough the first Thanksgiving as we know it did not create a yearly tradition among the pilgrims. Partly because the following year was a poor one and because many new settlers had arrived, Thanksgiving became a celebration that was only observed occasionally over the following centuries. However, thanks to the Revolutionary War all of America celebrated Thanksgiving together in 1777. But, that still didnt get the tradition going like it is today. It wasnt until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November Thanksgiving that the tradition really became part of Americas culture. The only other change was when Franklin Roosevelt changed the date to the fourth Thursday in 1939.
Of course, you may have learned a different Thanksgiving story in school or you may be one who believes Thanksgiving as a celebration shared by the Indians and the Pilgrims took part in their celebration. There is no shortage of ideas about how Thanksgiving originated. However, the above account is one that is traditionally accepted by Americans and the one that most people tend to believe.