Thanksgiving has become the preeminent holiday which is known around the world as a distinctly American tradition. Here are some of the popular reasons behind the celebration of thanksgiving.
The time-honoured story of the pilgrims and the natives
The legend of Thanksgiving has it that Native Americans and pilgrims got together sometime between September 21 and November 11, 1621, to celebrate a good harvest season. The first-ever American thanksgiving included roughly 90 members of the Wampanoag tribe and pilgrims. The first Thanksgiving feast consisted of boiled pumpkin, plums, clams, fish, berries, fowl meat and deer meat.
The first national day of Thanksgiving
While the 1621 feast started the tradition of Thanksgiving, it didn’t gain popularity as a national feast day till 1789 when all 13 colonies celebrated the day after Thursday, November 26 was accepted as a national day or public prayer and thanksgiving by George Washington.
Sarah Josepha Hale “invents” modern Thanksgiving
Sarah Josepha Hale is best known as the author of nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. She was also an avid advocate for a national thanksgiving day and it was her influence that prompted the issuance of the Thanksgiving Proclamation by Lincoln in 1863.
FDR changes the Thanksgiving date to boost economy
In 1939, the Great Depression had drained the U.S. economy out and U.S. retailers began egging President Roosevelt to bump the official Thanksgiving Day up by a week to increase pre-Christmas shopping days by 7 days. FDR’s 1939 Thanksgiving Proclamation stated that the second-to-last Thursday of November would be the day of thanksgiving. However, this created a lot of confusion in school curriculums, football match schedules etc. However, Congress passed a law on December 26, 1941 establishing fourth Thursday of November to the official day of Thanksgiving. And that law is upheld even today.