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The History of Thanksgiving

It is now the Thanksgiving season, and as you sit down with your family and friends to feast on some delicious food, have you ever wondered about the history of the Thanksgiving holiday? In 1620, a ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, because the Puritans needed to find a new home to practice their own faith freely. After lots of travel, they concluded their journey at Massachusetts Bay. The first year in America, in the Mayflower, they had to endure a very brutal winter full of disease and famine. Many tragically died because of the harsh conditions and weather. However, after the horrible months of winter, they were welcomed by the Abenaki Native Americans. The Puritans finally had a successful corn harvest in 1621, and Governor William Bard Ford issued a 3 day feast. He even invited the Wampanoag Native Americans to share the first thanksgiving feast.



Their table was filled with seals, swans, and lobster. Fast forward to the American Revolution, when Geogre Washington made the Thanksgiving proclamation to the national government to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Some states did adopt this tradition, but it was still an unfamiliar holiday most of America. It was not official until the civil war, when Abraham Lincoln officially scheduled Thanksgiving as a national holiday on the final Thursday of November. In the 1930’s, President Franklin Roosevelt pushed to move it up a week to help with Christmas retail sales during the Great Depression. But, after receiving a lot of backlash he officially moved Thanksgiving back to the fourth Thursday.


There is always something to be thankful for. The Puritans were thankful for renewed life. We can be thankful for what God has given us. Remember to have joy and a heart of thanksgiving this holiday season!


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