A Brief History Of One Of America’s Favorite Holidays On The 400th Anniversary Of The First Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving is a holiday in which American families gather to share a hearty meal and express gratitude for everything they have. It’s a ritual that dates back four centuries.
This year celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving, which took place on Nov. 25, 1621, in Plymouth, Massachusetts, between early Pilgrim immigrants and Wampanoag Native Americans.
Half of the Pilgrims did not survive the harsh New England winter after sailing over the Atlantic Ocean on the Mayflower to evade religious persecution and arriving in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620. Squanto, an Abenaki Native American who greeted them in English, met the Pilgrims in March.
Squanto taught them how to harvest crops, fish, and get maple sap from trees. He also assisted the settlers in forging a relationship with the Wampanoag Indians.
The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag may or may not have eaten turkey on the first Thanksgiving, with the likely dinner consisting of geese and ducks, while the Wampanoag provided venison, fish, shellfish, and beer. For nearly a week, the men shot guns, ran races, and drank beer while dining.
In 1789, President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation to mark the end of the Revolutionary War and the passage of the Constitution, which was named by the United States Continental Congress. Southerners, on the other hand, were sluggish to adopt the New England tradition.
Sara Josepha Hale began a push to have Thanksgiving recognized as a national holiday. She earned the nickname “Mother of Thanksgiving” for the 36 years she published articles and sent letters to senators, governors, and presidents urging them to make Thanksgiving a holiday. Finally, on Oct. 3, 1863, then-President Abraham Lincoln responded to her plea by establishing the first official Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 26, 1863, in order to “heal the nation’s wounds” from the Civil War.
Until 1939, when then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt chose to move the holiday up a week to help with retail sales during the Great Depression, the holiday was planned for the last Thursday of November.
The practice of playing football on Thanksgiving began in 1876 with a rugby match between Princeton and Yale. Since its start in 1920, the NFL has had a yearly tradition of Thanksgiving football. Since 1934, the Detroit Lions have hosted Thanksgiving Day games, and the Dallas Cowboys have done so since 1966.
Since the late 1800s, parades have been a Thanksgiving Day tradition. The most well-known parades do. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.