As the scary night of Halloween passes, the country turns its attention to the National holiday that is found on the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is the longest running American tradition. In fact, since the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621, the tradition pre-dates the birth of the United States by over 150 years.
- After arriving in Plymouth Massachusetts in December of 1620 and settling their village, only about half of the Pilgrims survived from those that originally set out on the Mayflower. Because they were so “thankful” to be alive, they decided to have a thanksgiving feast.
- The beverage that the Plymouth Pilgrims brought with them from England to was beer. They reproduced it after Plymouth Plantation was settled and so beer was enjoyed along with the Thanksgiving meal.
- Thanksgiving Day is also celebrated by the Canadians. Traditionally, they celebrate their Thanksgiving on the second Monday in October.
- The name of the tribe that celebrated Thanksgiving with the Pilgrims was the Wampanoag Indians. Governor William Bradford invited the Wampanoag Indians to the first Thanksgiving because it was the Indians who taught them how to cultivate the land.
- There were about 90 Wampanoag Indians present for the first Thanksgiving, including the Wampanoag chief Massasoit.
- Forget just one afternoon of football and a lot of turkey, the very first Thanksgiving lasted three whole days.
- The very first President of the United States, President George Washington issued the first National Thanksgiving proclamation in 1789. He would then repeat that proclamation six years later in 1795.
- The first state to make the Thanksgiving Day celebration official was the state of New York in the year of 1817. However, by this time, many Americans celebrated the day as an annual custom. This was especially true in the Northern states.
- It was United States Citizen Sarah Joseph Hale, who was a magazine editor that started a campaign for a National recognition of Thanksgiving in 1827. More than 35 years later, Abraham Lincoln offered an official proclamation that set Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November as the National day for Thanksgiving.
- Wanting to stimulate the economy by having a longer Christmas season, President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving a week earlier in the year 1939. Finally in 1941 Congress passed an official proclamation that Thanksgiving was to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of each November.
Time to Make the Turkey
Now that there are a few fun facts at hand about the Thanksgiving holiday over the past few hundred years, check out these articles on how to properly thaw a turkey and how to brine a turkey.
While many people know the general story of how the Pilgrims and Indians broke bread in the late fall in the commonwealth of Massachusetts, many people do not know some of the fun facts and details. Here is a look at 10 fun facts about the oldest American Tradition, the Thanksgiving holiday.