Thanksgiving History

Thanksgiving was a holiday celebrated by many U.S states and colonies individually until President Abraham Lincoln made it a national holiday in 1863.  Lincoln had declared the holiday to be celebrated on the final Thursday of November.  However, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to be celebrated a week earlier during the Great Depression in an attempt to help the economy.  Many people opposed this change due mostly to schedule changes of football games, parades, etc.  In 1941, the date was changed to the fourth Thursday.  Nowadays, Thanksgiving is seen as a day to be grateful for all you have, which is true, though it started as a day of prayer, thanking God for blessing them.  

There is some controversy about which historical event Thanksgiving is modeled after.  The event most believed to be the model for Thanksgiving occurred in 1621 when the English settlers (pilgrims) celebrated with a nearby Wampanoag tribe and potentially more Native American allies.  Although the menu of Thanksgiving consists of turkey, stuffing, and other “traditional” foods, it is likely that fish, shellfish, various stews, vegetables, and other foods were originally eaten.  Other festivals of this kind included Native Americans doing dances and rituals, believed to ensure good harvests.  

Bountiful harvests have been associated with Thanksgiving for many years, and later on, so did football.  In 1876, Princeton and Yale held a football game on Thanksgiving, adding a rowdier aspect to the holiday.  As time went on, parades started to become more prevalent during the holiday as well.  The most popular parade is the Macy’s Day Parade, known for its large floats, balloons, and marching bands.  The first Macy’s Day parade was on November 27, 1924, at nine in the morning.  

Thanksgiving is a day for being grateful for all you have.  Many people spend the holiday with family and friends, making it one of the busiest times of the year.  The food is always bountiful.  Have a great Thanksgiving break, and enjoy the food!


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