Origin and History of Thanksgiving

Origin and History of Thanksgiving

Like the name suggests, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated for goodwill and gratitude. The following article provides some facts regarding the history and origin of this tradition.
During Thanksgiving, every other activity is put on hold, and few days are spent in gratitude and celebration. To understand the origin and history of this day, we would need to go back almost 400 hundred years to the year 1620. In this year, more than a hundred people who had begun to question the beliefs of the Church of England, sailed across the Atlantic Ocean, in order to settle in the New World (now known as Massachusetts). These pilgrims found it very difficult to live in this world, as they had arrived too late, and were unable to grow many crops to ensure their survival. Disaster struck, and half the colony died from disease. It was only in the following spring, that the Indians taught then how to grow corn, fishing, and hunting, which was a revelation to the colonists.

Time went by, and the autumn of 1621 revealed bountiful crops of corn, beans, and pumpkins. The colonists now had plenty to be thankful for, and hence, a feast was planned for which 90 Indians and the local chief were invited. The invitees bought deer, turkeys, and other wild game for roasting. The menu also covered several kinds of corn, squash dishes, and popcorn.

This celebration continued in the following years. After the United States became an independent country, the Congress recommended that one yearly day should be celebrated as Thanksgiving Day by the entire nation. It was George Washington who suggested 26th November as the specific date for this celebration. When the bloody civil war finally ended in 1863, Abraham Lincoln asked all Americans to set aside the last Thursday in the month of November to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Facts
  • In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November.
  • In Canada, it is celebrated on the 2nd Monday in October.
  • Mayflower was the name of the Puritan ship that the pilgrims sailed on, and large caskets of beer were carried on it for serving as a drink during the voyage time.
  • The first Thanksgiving feast was carried on for 3 days.
  • The first national Thanksgiving Day proclamation was issued by President George Washington in 1789, and was again issued in 1795.
  • On 3rd October, 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation, which stated that the last Thursday of November was officially set aside for this tradition.
  • In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale was an editor with a magazine, and she began a Thanksgiving campaign. Due to her efforts, the celebrations and prayers have been spread all across the nation, and even beyond.
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