The History behind Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is a holiday that many Americans treasure so much. It’s a time that families come together, parties are all over with lots of delicious meals and intense travel snarls. 

The thanksgiving celebrations date back to the year 1620. The day falls on November 26th and is marked by countries including the U.S, Canada, Grenada, Puerto Rico, and Liberia. It’s a day when pilgrims landed on American soil. Unfortunately, it was not a good season for those who’d emigrated because the weather was harsh with tight winter rations. 

Finally, there was springtime, and the settlers could now plant crops. The Native American named Squanto helped them settle and taught them fishing, growing corn, squash, pumpkins, and hunting.

With the newfound skills, they could store up enough to enable them to survive the coming winter on American soil. 

The grateful pilgrims were so excited and would invite the Native Americans to join them in a harvest feast, and since then, it has become Thanksgiving.

Here Are A Few Facts about Thanksgiving

History has it that the first Thanksgiving - a celebration of good harvest happened in 1621 where English pilgrims at the Plymouth plantation in Massachusetts shared a meal with their neighbors, the Native Americans. 

But a different school of thought led by one historian, Michael Gannon, believes that the First Thanksgiving festival occurred half a century earlier in Florida - specifically the year 1565 where Spaniards shared a meal with a local native tribe after a religious service.

When Did Thanksgiving Become A Holiday?

The first Federal Congress resolved on September 28th, 1789, asking the then-president George Washington to recommend a Thanksgiving Day from the U.S National Archives. The president didn’t hesitate; a few days later, he declared the Thursday, November 26th, 1789 - Day of Publick Thanksgiving. 

The days of the celebrations kept changing until Abraham Lincoln’s 1863’s proclamation. 

Why the Thanksgiving Dates Changed

Initially, the thanksgiving festival was celebrated on the last Thursday of November on the last day of the month. However, President Franklin D Roosevelt was concerned about how the Christmas shopping season was shortened, dampening economic recovery. Thus he issued a proclamation that moved Thanksgiving to the last Thursday of November. Thirty-two other states followed in issuing a similar proclamation, but 16 others declined. 

That led to having 2 Thanksgiving celebrations. 

Later, congress decided to end the confusion and set a fixed date for a holiday on October 6th, 1941, and thus last Thursday of November was declared the legal Thanksgiving day through a joint resolution.

The Tradition of American Football on Thanksgiving

Millions of Americans watch the Detroit Lions play American football. This tradition dates back to 1934, when the team took on the indefatigable world champions Chicago Bears. Despite losing the inaugural game, the lions since then have played football on this historic day. 

There are so many other theories about Thanksgiving, but all of them agree on the date and the manner of celebration. It’s a great day where families come together to enjoy rare delicacies and lovely desserts here to show love in remembrance of the warm welcome and excellent treatment of the pilgrims by the American Natives.

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