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The History of Thanksgiving Day

The United States and Americans for that matter celebrate Thanksgiving Day every November. For them, there is something significant than the celebration, the symbolic turkey, and other sumptuous dishes. It is more of expressing their gratitude for continued existence, thriving communities, and triumph over the British invaders. For hundreds of years, American families added their norms to the USA’s values and customs.


When and How Thanksgiving Started?

The first settlers or colonists in the historic Plymouth Colony signed a treaty with the Wampanoag Indian tribe in March of 1621. They shared the harvest feast that autumn which later became known as the first Thanksgiving Day festivity. For over 200 years, Thanksgiving was celebrated by individual states and colonies. Only in 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared it as a national holiday amid the brewing American Civil War. 

Incidentally, the practice of having feasts to commemorate bountiful harvests became common in the European colony of North America. However, the original and documented Thanksgiving services still belonged to the United States. The practice became customary in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1607. In 1619, a group of 38 British colonizers turned up at the Berkeley Hundred in the Virginia Colony. 

After three years, the native Indians killed more than 340 Englishmen, women and children in Virginia. This was nearly ¼ of the entire population of English residents in that locality forcing survivors to relocate in safer settlements. Still, this did not deter the colonists to celebrate Thanksgiving in more secure communities and progressed through the centuries until the present day. 


First Proclamation

George Washington, acknowledged as the first President of the United States of America, issued the first formal decree of Thanksgiving in the country. The National Thanksgiving declaration was made on October 3, 1789. 

In 1846, American editor and writer Sarah Josepha Hale pursued a one-woman initiative so that Thanksgiving will be recognized as an official national celebration. It was celebrated only in New England (now known as Northeastern United States). It was widely unheard of in southern territories. The other American states held their own Thanksgiving Day celebrations in different dates and months from January to October. 

In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) moved the Thanksgiving celebration up one week to help retail establishments with their sales before Christmas season. This was during the period of the Great Depression. Many states conformed to the pronouncement of FDR although 16 other states snubbed this shift in holiday. In short, Thanksgiving schedules varied which caused a lot of pressure by the House of Representatives on President Roosevelt. In 1941, legislators passed a measure returning Thanksgiving Day to November (4th Thursday). 


Traditional Thanksgiving Day Dishes

Now that Americans continue to celebrate Thanksgiving Day, the classic dish is the very-popular Roast Turkey recipe. Alternatives can be ducks, geese or ham. Americans are very fond of stuffing or dressing consisting of bread cube mix, carrots, diced celery, sage, and onions inside the fowl. Apples, sausages and raisins may also be included. In many instances, pumpkin pipes complement the turkey.

Erkut N.