Thanksgiving Day

Thanksgiving Day; what is it really about?

I’m sure most of you reading this must have been in a Thanksgiving feast in your families or at friends’ and ended up taking part in the regular traditions like football, parades ,etc. But do you actually know what this day is really about. Well no worries, even if you don’t! I’ll tell the cool historical facts and traditions and how this festival came about to be in existence. So let’s dive in!

In very simplistic terms, the idea of celebrating Thanksgivings expresses gratitude to a great harvest in the past year. The early traditions of this celebrations root from the 1621 event in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared a big feast together honoring the year’s harvest. Check out when is Thanksgiving 2024 and start making your plans in advance.

There’s a LOT more to this story!!!

But what’s more fascinating about this story is how thing event came to be in the first place. Well you see, in September of 1620, a small ship named Mayflower set sail from the city of Plymouth, England, carrying a group of 102 passengers who were all religious separatists seeking a new place to practice their faith. After 66 days in the seas, they dropped anchor in Cape Cod, not where they originally intended to land. But around December, they finally crossed Massachusetts Bay, and hence began the long process of setting down a village at the new “Plymouth” town in Massachusetts.

Early days through the winter were harsh and most pilgrims stayed on board where they suffered from several contagious diseases. In March, all of the surviving settlers moved ashore, where the English speaking Abenaki tribe “greeted” them. This was the start of a harmonic mutual relationship where the pilgrims taught the natives about cultivating crops, avoiding harmful foods, catching fish and much more. Together, the two communities worked with each other and come November 1621, they harvested their first corn, and in a big celebration, the governor of the settlement invited a few allied native tribes and the chief of Wampanoag tribe to a feast.

The adoption of “Thanksgiving Day”

During the American Revolution, the congress designated days for “Thanksgiving” and in 1789 George Washington issued the first proclamation of Thanksgiving by the national government. He encouraged the Americans to express gratitude for the happy conclusion to the war and join in on the celebrations of independence.

In 1817, New York became the first state to officially adopt the Thanksgiving Day annually, however on a different date each year. Some of the states followed suit soon, but the South was still largely unfamiliar with the whole tradition.

In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale, writer and the magazine editor who gave birth to the rhyme “Mary had a little lamb”, started writing about establishing the Thanksgiving as a national holiday. She went on to write to the governors, senators and presidents from over 36 years, until finally in 1863, when Abraham Lincoln accepted her request, which cause her to gain the title of “Mother of Thanksgiving”. The holiday was set to be observed on the final Thursday of every November, which went on until 1939, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt shifted it up a week.

Thanksgiving 2024 will be celebrated on the Thursday 28th of November.

The Celebrations

There are a couple things that spring to mind right away when someone says Thanksgiving and that is the Thanksgiving Parade and Turkey.

Since 1924, Macy’s Department Store has presented the largest and most famous Thanksgiving Parade, in New York. The event attracts more than 2 million spectators each year, who gather along the 2.5 mile parade route to catch a glimpse of this enormous and surreal celebration. It brings in millions of TV audience as well. The parade features marching bands, performers, giant floats and huge cartoon/celebrity balloons. The Turkey, even though has a lot of significance now, originally had a very mundane attachment to the celebrations. The Thanksgivings was a celebration that was held in large groups or communities. So it was considered a better choice economically to have the Turkey be roasted instead of chicken or any other bird. Today it is often paired with mashed potatoes and gravy , cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. The significant attachment comes during the mid-20th century, where every president since then has had a tradition of “sparing” a turkey or two by sending them to the farm and saving them from slaughter.

Learn more about Thanksgiving

I really urge you to check out more about Thanksgiving and its history because it is so fascinating. Thanksgiving 2024 falls on 28th of November. Mark your November calendars so you don’t have to worry about when is thanksgiving 2024.