You may not know this, but America’s first Thanksgiving dinner dates back nearly 400 years ago to 1621. It was William Bradford, who was the founder and Governor of the Plymouth Colony, who organized the celebratory feast. According to the history books It was a celebration of the first corn harvest. He invited several Native American allies to join in what became a three-day feast, referred to today as America’s “first Thanksgiving”.
Historians believe the traditional menu items like turkey, potatoes and pies weren’t on the “first Thanksgiving” menu. It’s suggested that the feast consisted of cooked goose, cod, corn, lobster and deer brought to the Pilgrims by the Wampanoag Indians.
Through the next several hundred years Thanksgiving was celebrated sporadically. Then in 1789 President George Washington made a proclamation recommending Thursday, November 26th as a day of “public thanksgiving and prayer”. However, it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday to be celebrated the last Thursday in November.
Controversially, President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1939 broke the last Thursday in November tradition by moving it a week sooner. Our country was in the midst of The Great Depression and that year there were 5 Thursdays in November rather than the more common 4. President Roosevelt thought an earlier Thanksgiving would give merchants a longer time to sell goods before Christmas in hopes to stimulate the economy.
Although history shows that some Thanksgiving traditions have changed throughout the years, thankfulness has been the common denominator of this holiday and I’m truly thankful for each and every one of you. I wish you all a Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!
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