The origins of Thanksgiving

Ericson Foote, Contributor

We all love the holiday Thanksgiving. It’s a fun day where we meet with our family, eat food, give thanks and watch the Macy’s parade and football, But there is way more to it. The first Thanksgiving was In 1621,when the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag shared an autumn harvest feast. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression. In 1620, a ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers. After a long trip that lasted 66 days, they dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, far north of their intended destination at the mouth of the Hudson River. One month later, the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims, as they are now known, began the work of establishing a village at Plymouth. Some religious people sought a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals were lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the “New World.” The pilgrims held their second Thanksgiving celebration in 1623 to mark the end of a long drought that had threatened the year’s harvest. Governor Bradford calls for a religious fast. Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and sold into slavery before escaping to London and returning to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. Squanto taught the Pilgrims, weakened by malnutrition and illness, how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers forge an alliance with the Wampanoag.

 In many American households, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its original religious significance; instead, it now centers on cooking and sharing a bountiful meal with family and friends. Parades have also become an essential part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. The most famous parade has been presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting around 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing a ton television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, floats carrying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters. Thanksgiving is an important holiday to express your love for your friends and family. It is important that everyone should know the origins of the wonderful holiday.