festivals and traditions

The History of Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving is an important American feast that is celebrated every year on the 4th Thursday of November in the USA and on the 2nd Monday of October in Canada.
Which is its historical origin? Let’s discover it together 😉
In 1620, a group of people, the Pilgrim Fathers arrived on the American coasts after a long two-month journey by ship (the Mayflower). It was a very difficult period, as winter was getting near and these families had nothing to eat.

However, the inhabitants of that wild continent, the American Indians, were friendly and helped them to survive.
According to a tale an Indian called Squanto taught the new population how to grow the land and catch fish.
However, the situation got better in spring, so William Bradford, the governor of the first established settlement in Plymouth (Massachusetts) decided to proclaim a day in order to thank and express gratitude to God for the good harvest of that year; the new inhabitants organized a big celebration, preparing some food such as cereals and pumpkin pies (which were included in the traditional menu of this feast and are mentioned in Poleyn’s post) and invited the American Indians, too.
There were no other thanksgiving feasts until 1623 because of famines.
In 1777, after winning against the English army in Saratoga, the original 13 colonies celebrated this recurrence the same day and twelve years later, in 1789, George Washington proclaimed Thanksgiving as an official holiday all over the country, which was celebrated by both rich and poor families, each according to its economical possibilities.
Abram Lincoln in 1862  established as its official date to the 4th Thursday of November and brought on the tradition, which a few presidents had done before, to give a thanksgiving proclamation, which is, till today, an unfailing appointment for Americans.
Thanksgiving day was officially proclaimed a national feast in 1941 by the United States Congress.
Now, many manifestations are connected to this recurrence that is celebrated for about 4-5 days (a period in which schools and offices are closed) and which is very important for Americans, who are really proud of their tradition.

One thought on “The History of Thanksgiving Day

  1. They’re rightly proud of their tradition because American Indians were very kind to everyone they met, although they were people who had a different culture, and they demonstrated, long times ago, that kindness is an important human virtue that today we often tend to forget…

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