Brief History of Thanksgiving

Brief History of Thanksgiving

The event that Americans commonly call the First Thanksgiving was celebrated by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the New World in October 1621. This celebration lasted three days, and as accounted by the attendee Edward Winslowit was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims. Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. A similar holiday is held in Canada, usually on the second Monday in October.

What people think about Thanksgiving at HMS

But to many, the real definition of what Thanksgiving is about is an occasion that extended families are able to come together. It is a helpful holiday because it provides the opportunity for family members to spend a day engaging with one another in a very intentional way.

Many families have different traditions and activities that they do on Thanksgiving and it is different in every culture. We interviewed a few people around the HMS campus and asked them what they do for Thanksgiving.

Kai Gulliksen said, “I eat food and spend time with my family. My aunt also comes over and we watch football.” 

I&S teacher, Mr.Calderon, said, “It’s really Mexican for my family. We watch football and eat mole and tamales until we’re full.” 

Overall, Thanksgiving is a time to be with family and enjoy the moments that you have with people you love.

Why turkeys are involved in Thanksgiving.

The colonists had hunted wild turkeys during the autumn of 1621, and since turkey is a North American bird, it gained traction. 

Additionally, there were good reasons for eating turkey back then rather than eating chicken. The birds are large enough that they can feed a table full of hungry family members, and unlike chickens or cows, they don’t serve an additional purpose like laying eggs or making milk.

Thanksgiving Facts

  1. Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday in 1863.
  2. Thanksgiving is a federal holiday in the United States, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.   
  3. Turkey wasn’t on the menu at the first Thanksgiving.
  4. The day after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday.
  5. The history of U.S. presidents pardoning turkeys is patchy.
  6. The Pilgrims sailed to America from Great Britain on a ship called the Mayflower.
  7. Americans eat 46 million turkeys each thanksgiving.