What is Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday in the United States, celebrated by families and friends each year. It is a time to come together and give thanks for the blessings we have received throughout the year. But where did this tradition come from? This article will take a closer look at the history of Thanksgiving, examining how it has become a part of our culture today. We will explore the origins of this holiday, as well as some common traditions associated with it.
Pre-Colonial History is an important part of the history of Thanksgiving. Before colonization, Native Americans were living in North America and celebrated their harvest festivals. These celebrations often included feasts that are similar to modern-day Thanksgiving celebrations.
Native American tribes such as the Wampanoag tribe celebrated these harvest festivals for centuries prior to contact with Europeans in 1620. The Wampanoag tribe welcomed the Pilgrims, who arrived from England and helped them survive their first harsh winter in North America. After a successful harvest, the colonists and the Wampanoag tribe came together to celebrate with a three-day feast which many historians consider to be America’s first Thanksgiving celebration.
Since then, Thanksgiving has become an integral part of American culture every November.
17th Century: Plymouth Colony
The Plymouth Colony of the 17th Century was a period in history that will forever be remembered. It marks the beginning of Thanksgiving, one of the most beloved holidays in America.
The Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620 and formed what became known as the Plymouth Colony. The colony grew with new settlers coming from England to escape religious persecution. The Pilgrims celebrated their first harvest in 1621, which is now recognized as the history behind Thanksgiving. The celebration was shared with their Native American neighbors and lasted for three days- filled with feasting, games, and prayer.
18th Century: Expansion & Growth
The 18th century was an era of expansion and growth, a period when the United States of America began to take shape. As the nation moved away from its colonial roots, the Thanksgiving holiday emerged as an essential part of American culture.
Thanksgiving has been celebrated in some form since 1621 when pilgrims in Plymouth shared their first harvest with local Native Americans. This tradition continued, with each region celebrating at different times throughout the year until 1789, when President George Washington declared November 26 as a “day of public thanksgiving and prayer.” From that point on, individual states began to observe their own Thanksgiving days according to their traditions and beliefs. By the early 1800s, Thanksgiving had become an annual occurrence nationwide.
19th Century: National Holiday
The 19th Century marked a pivotal moment in history for the celebration of Thanksgiving, a national holiday that is still celebrated today. Although there is evidence that thanksgiving celebrations have been around since the early 1600s, it wasn’t until the mid-1800s that its status as a national holiday was solidified.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving Day to be an official National Holiday on the final Thursday in November. This proclamation reflected his desire to create unity among citizens of all backgrounds and beliefs during one of the darkest periods of American history: The Civil War. Furthermore, Lincoln’s proclamation also furthered Americans’ interest in celebrating their first harvest season in a new land—a tradition that had been passed down from Native Americans centuries earlier.
Thanksgiving Day remains an integral part of American culture and has become one of our most beloved national holidays.
20th Century: Celebration Continues
The 20th century was a period of celebration and thanksgiving for many. As the world entered into a new era, countries around the globe celebrated their newfound independence with festivities and parades. Thanksgiving became an especially important holiday in this time period as it represented a chance to come together to express gratitude for the blessings of this life.
Thanksgiving celebrations throughout the 20th century were filled with joyous occasions that brought friends and family members together from near and far. People shared traditional feasts featuring turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie – all served up with lashings of love! This was often followed by outdoor activities such as hikes through nature or sporting events like football games – always something to look forward to!
Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition celebrated in countries around the world, and more often than not, it involves gathering of family and friends to express gratitude. Each year, millions of people celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing feasts, making decorations, and expressing thanks for blessings, both great and small.
One of the most beloved traditions observed during Thanksgiving is sharing stories between family members. Friends and family gather around the table while their favorite dishes are served on platters filled with delectable foods. It’s a time to reminisce about past holidays as well as share traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation. A popular tradition that many families enjoy each year is a “Thankful Game,” where guests take turns saying what they are thankful for before indulging in their meal or dessert.
Traditional Foods: Turkey, Pie, Stuffing
Thanksgiving is a time for gathering with friends and family to give thanks for all the blessings of life. The traditional Thanksgiving feast usually consists of roasted turkey, pie, and stuffing. Turkey has been a staple of the Thanksgiving meal for centuries. Its origins trace back to 1621 when the Pilgrims celebrated their first successful harvest in Plymouth Colony by feasting wild turkeys. Pies are also a mainstay at the Thanksgiving table, adding sweetness and flavor to the meal. From classic pumpkin pies made with fresh-baked pumpkin puree to creamy pecan pies dotted with crunchy nuts or decadent apple pies made from juicy Granny Smith apples – pies add an extra element of fun and flavor to any holiday dinner. Stuffing rounds out the classic trifecta of traditional foods served during Thanksgiving dinner.
Modern Customs: Charitable Actions & Reflection
Immigration & Assimilation
Immigration and assimilation are often topics of discussion during the Thanksgiving holiday season. Families come together to celebrate their culture, heritage, and the many different backgrounds that make up the nation. As immigrants across generations continue to bring new cultures and beliefs into American society, understanding how they fit in with existing communities can be difficult.
Throughout history, immigrants have become part of U.S. society while maintaining their cultural identities. It’s important to remember that America is a melting pot of cultures that have been slowly assimilating for centuries. On Thanksgiving Day, particularly, we must recognize each other’s differences. Appreciate those brave enough to journey away from home in search of a brighter future in America. We must honor these contributions by celebrating our diversity at the dinner table this Thanksgiving and throughout the year.
Changes in Celebrations
Thanksgiving is a beloved holiday for many. Every year, families and friends gather to celebrate with a meal of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Last two years, however, due to the coronavirus pandemic, traditional Thanksgiving celebrations will have to be adjusted.
Given the health risks posed by the virus, large gatherings of family and friends were discouraged in most places. That doesn’t mean that traditions need to be canceled though; it just means they may look a bit different each year. Many opted for small gatherings with only their immediate family members. Some had virtual dinners over video chat that included extended family members or close friends who couldn’t join in person.
Modern Customs: Charitable Actions & Reflection
Thanksgiving is a time for reflection and appreciation, which is often demonstrated through charitable actions. Charitable acts are an important part of modern customs during this holiday season. During Thanksgiving, it is customary to reflect on the blessings in our lives and give thanks to those who have given us so much. By engaging in acts of charity, we can show our appreciation for all that we have been given and reach out to those less fortunate than ourselves. In the spirit of giving, many people choose to donate items or money to charities or volunteer their time at shelters and centers around the holidays. Others opt to host Thanksgiving dinners with friends or family members who may not otherwise have been able to get together due to financial reasons or other commitments.
Meaning of Thanksgiving
In conclusion, Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for all the blessings we have in our lives. It is a chance to spend quality time with friends and family, share stories, give thanks, and create memories that will last a lifetime. During this memorable holiday, let us take the time to reflect on what truly matters most in life. Let us also commit to showing appreciation for those around us year-round. Now more than ever, let us remember the true meaning of Thanksgiving: gratitude and togetherness.