How Thanksgiving came to be…

Hi everyone, I hope you are all doing okay. Today is Thanksgiving, a day that you celebrate with your loved ones, well… that was the tradition up until this year. Like the rest of this year, everything changed, whereas we once could have gone to friends or relatives or even be the host of Thanksgiving itself. Instead, we have to celebrate it in a different way, whatever way you do choose to spend this day, I am sure you will have a good thanksgiving.

When It All Began

Thanksgiving is now a national holiday that is celebrated in the United States every year on the fourth Thursday of November and its where families all across the U.S. will be gathered around to feast on the turkey, and watch football, while they are waiting to see Santa during the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, but have you ever wondered when it all began?

Thanksgivings First Feast

There are different variations of it, this is just one… It was the year 1621 when the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Native Americans shared an autumn feast that would be acknowledged as being the very first Thanksgiving meal with celebrations through the colonies. For more than two centuries Thanksgiving was celebrated by individual states and colonies. It wasn’t until 1863, whilst during the civil war when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day that is to be held as a yearly event in November.

Plymouth

In September 1620 a small ship called the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers, with an assortment of religions seeking a new life and home, where they could freely practice their faith, and there were other individuals, that were lured by the promise of land ownership in the New World. After a treacherous and uncomfortable 66 days, they finally dropped anchor near the tip of Cape Cod, but it was too far north and quite away from their intended destination that was at the mouth of the Hudson River. It was one month later when the Mayflower crossed Massachusetts Bay, where the Pilgrims are commonly now known, and they soon began working to establish a village at Plymouth.

Throughout that first brutal and vicious winter, most of the colonists had remained aboard the ship, where they suffered from exposure, scurvy and outbreaks of contagious diseases. There was a lot of devastation and despair and it cost a lot of lives, as only half of the Mayflower’s original passengers and crew lived to see their first New England spring. In March, the remaining passengers moved a shore, where they were welcomed by a visit from an Abenaki Native American who greeted them in English.

A few days later he returned with another Native American called Tisquantum, who is more commonly known by Squanto who was a member of the Patuxet tribe who had been kidnapped by an English sea captain and was then sold into slavery before escaping to London and then returning back to his homeland on an exploratory expedition. The Pilgrims who were weakened by malnutrition and illness, were taught by Squanto everything he knows, on how to cultivate corn, and extract sap from maple trees, catch fish and avoid poisonous plants. He also helped the settlers to forge an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe, which would then go on for more than fifty years and remains one of the sole examples of harmony between the Native Americans and the European colonists.

In November 1621, the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved a success, Governor William Bradford had organized a celebratory feast and invited a group of the fledgling colony’s Native American allies that would also include Wampanoag Chief Massasoit. It is now best remembered as American’s “first Thanksgiving” but the Pilgrims themselves would not have used those terms at that time, the festival celebrations lasted for three consecutive days.

Traditions of Today

In many American households they have lost the religious aspect of the Thanksgiving celebrations, instead it centres more on cooking a beautiful meal and enjoying spending time with family and friends, football, playing games and the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Turkey has become a symbol for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.

12 Fun Facts about Thanksgiving

  • The first Thanksgiving was held in the autumn of 1621 that included fifty pilgrims and ninety Wampanoag Indians and the celebrations lasted three days. Many historians believe that there were just only five women present at the first Thanksgiving as many women settlers did not survive that difficult first year in the U.S.
  • Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until over 200 years later: Sarah Josepha Hale, the women who actually wrote the classic nursery rhyme “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced President Lincoln in 1863 to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, after campaigning for many years by writing letters to make it happen.
  • There was no turkey on the menu at the first Thanksgiving dinner.
  • There wasn’t a fork insight as the first Thanksgiving meal was eaten by using spoons and knives. A meal without using a fork is just unimaginable, forks weren’t even introduced to the pilgrims until ten years later and it was not a popular utensil until the eighteenth century.
  • Thanksgiving is the reason behind TV dinners: In 1953, Swanson had a lot of extra turkeys (260 tons to be exact) that was when a salesman who didn’t want them to go to waste, said that they should package it into aluminum trays and include things like sweet potatoes, and hey presto, the very first TV dinner was born.
  • Thanksgiving was almost a fast, not a feast, as the early settlers gave their thanks by praying and abstaining from any food, which was what they had originally planned celebrating their first harvest, that was until the Wampanoag Indians joined them and turned their fast into a three-day feast.
  • Every year, the President of the U.S. pardons a turkey and spares it from being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner – The first pardon ceremony of a turkey started with President Truman in 1947. President Barack Obama pardoned a 45-pound turkey that was called Courage, who flew him over to Disneyland and served as a Grand Marshal of the park’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
  • Why was Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November? President Abraham Lincoln had begun the tradition of Thanksgiving being on the fourth Thursday in November, but in 1939 President Roosevelt made the decision to move it up a week, he thought that it would help the shopping season during the Great Depression era, but it never caught on, so he changed it back two years later, to the original fourth Thursday in November.
  • In 1924 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade began, with around 400 employees marching from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. There were no balloons of any sort there, instead, this parade consists of only live animals from Central Park Zoo.
  • Wild turkeys can only run 20 miles per hour, but only when they are scared. Domesticated turkeys, that are bred are much heavier and can’t run as fast.
  • Turkeys are not the cause for drowsiness or putting you into the dreaded food coma. Scientists say that it is the extra glass of wine you have, along with the high-calorie meal or it could be because you’re relaxing after having a barbaric work schedule that’s more likely to make you feel drowsy.
  • Watching football became a Thanksgiving tradition from 1920 ever since the NFL started the Thanksgiving Classic games, ever since then the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted games on this day. In 2006, a third game was added with different teams hosting.

13 Fun Facts about Turkeys

  • The heaviest turkey on record, according to the Guinness Book of Records, weighed 86 pounds, about the size of a large dog.
  • The average turkey for Thanksgiving weighs 15 pounds.
  • Californians consume the most turkey in the U.S. on Thanksgiving.
  • Benjamin Franklin wanted the turkey to be the national bird, not the eagle. In a letter to his daughter, he proposed the turkey as the official United States bird.
  • Americans eat 46 million turkeys each Thanksgiving.. 22 million on Christmas and 19 million is consumed at Easter.
  • Turkeys lived more than ten million years ago.
  • Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin’s first meal in space after walking on the moon was foil packets with roasted turkey.
  • In 2012, 253,500,000 turkeys were produced in the U.S.
  • Campbell’s soup created green bean casserole for an annual cookbook about 50 years ago. It now sells $20 million worth of cream mushroom soup.
  • Turkeys can see movement almost 100 yards away.
  • Male turkeys (called tom) gobble. Female turkeys (called hen) make a clicking noise.
  • Baby turkeys goes through name stages during their growth. A baby turkeys are called poult. A sixteen week old turkey is called a fryer. A five to seven month old is called a young roaster, a yearling is a one year old, and from fifteen months and older is called mature.
  • 200 hundred years ago in England turkeys were walked to market in herds. They wore booties on their feet to protect them. Turkeys were also walked to market in the United States.

Happy Thanksgiving Day to you all and thank you for taking the time to stop by and reading my blog. See you all next week!

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