Thanksgiving: The History to Today
Gathered around an array of food spread across the table, laughter filling the air, a day of thanks sets in. Thanksgiving is a national holiday commonly celebrated in the United States as a day to be thankful for all the blessings that have filled lives the past year.
This tradition started in 1621; after surviving a brutal winter, the English colonists - better known as the Pilgrims - shared a three-day long feast with the Wampanoag people. The original intentions of the feast were to celebrate the Pilgrim’s first Autumn harvest, which was successful due to the generosity of the Wampanoag tribe men sharing their knowledge of hunting, fishing and farming.
The tradition of Thanksgiving was celebrated in individual colonies and states for many years after, but in 1789 George Washington declared the first Thanksgiving proclamation urging American citizens to demonstrate their gratitude for earning their independence in the American Revolution.
The holiday did not have an official date until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln announced that Thanksgiving should be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. A few years later in 1870, Congress officially made Thanksgiving a national holiday; however, the date of this thankful day was not quite set in stone.
When Franklin D. Roosevelt became President, he moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November as a way to counter ongoing effects from the Great Depression by extending the holiday shopping season a bit longer. This action upset a wide majority of Americans, so in 1941 Roosevelt once again moved the holiday, this time to the fourth Thursday in November.
Today Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November, and this year Thanksgiving was celebrated November 24, 2022. Not only is it a day to be grateful, but it is also a day for families and friends to come together and enjoy each other's company.
Thanksgiving fun facts!
Across just the United States 704 million pounds of turkey is eaten just on this one day! And 44 million turkeys had their own seat at the thanksgiving table!
Female turkeys do not make that stereotypical gobble sound; it is only male turkeys that are able to make that sound, which is why male turkeys are called gobblers.
The most traveled to location on Thanksgiving Day is Orlando, Florida, with over 55 million people traveling there!