History Of Thanksgiving

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A Quick History Of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving in America traditionally kicks off the holiday season, which encompasses Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Kwaanza and New Year’s Eve. But how did Thanksgiving become a national holiday? Did Pilgrims from England really start the tradition?

The very first Thanksgiving was not “Thanksgiving” at all, but rather a three-day festival celebrating the first bountiful harvest in America aided by neighboring Native Americans, a tribe called the Wamapanoag. The people who sailed to the “New World” aboard the Mayflower were members of an English Puritan sect called the English Separatist Church.

In 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts determined that the community needed to set aside a day to express thanks for the blessings they had received. June 29 was chosen to be this day of Thanksgiving. In October of 1777, in the midst of the American Revolution, all thirteen colonies joined in a one-time Thanksgiving celebration. George Washington then declared a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789, six years after the war had ended. Finally, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln instituted the last Thursday in November to be celebrated nationally as a day of Thanksgiving. It wasn't until 1939 that we finally landed on the 4th Thursday of November, when President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving Day yet again. 

No matter how you slice it, Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for the many blessings we have.