Thanksgiving makes us think about the obvious—family and friends gathered to enjoy a huge meal of turkey and dressing, along with any number and variety of side dishes. But do you remember from your grammar school days why we take an entire day, in November, to give thanks and celebrate by eating?
The first Thanksgiving was observed 390 years ago.
In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth, Massachusetts.
While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. ¹
The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s. ²
Thanksgiving Day is currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Enacted by federal legislation in 1941, Thanksgiving has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers. ³
So, now that you remember your history, take time this Thanksgiving to give thanks and by all means go ahead and ask for seconds.