History Of Thanksgiving

The first Thanksgiving in 1621 was a three day celebration in Plymouth to give thanks to God for a good harvest.  On the menu was fish, fowl, deer, berries and fruits, pumpkin, beans, corn, and squash.

In 1777 during the Revolutionary War, December 18 was appointed to be a day of Thanksgiving, giving thanks to God for blessings, and a day of prayer for the cause of independence.

In 1789, George Washington, declared November 26 of that year to be a National Day of Thanksgiving, for the purpose of thanking God for the country’s independence.

By 1858, 25 governors had issued proclamations appointing a day of Thanksgiving.

In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln declared the final Thursday of each month to be a national Thanksgiving Day. He encouraged his fellow Americans to thank God for their blessings and to “commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union”.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated as a national holiday every year since 1863.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, and pumpkin pie.  All of these foods are native to the Americas.

——-> UP NEXT: The Turkey – An American Original

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12 comments to History Of Thanksgiving

  • Thanks for the facts, I really enjoy them!!!

    Another interesting fact – President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday for about 10 years to get people to shop for Christmas longer. One of the first stimulus packages, I guess! Now, Target and Walmart control when we start shopping which seems to be the day after Halloween!

    • Suzanne

      Hi Kara,
      I just hate all the merchandising of the holidays. Why don’t they just lump all 3 holidays together. They could call it Hallo-thanks-mas. When I was a kid, Christmas stuff didn’t appear in the stores until after Thanksgiving, and now some stores put it out there before Halloween. Good grief.

  • Doe of Mi.

    Sure enjoyed the facts. Weird that I’ve never looked them up for myself, seeing how my birthday is the 26th and every few years in falls on Thanksgiving. I’ve always loved it when that happens.

  • Vivian

    Thanks for the Thanksgiving history. It’s good for us to remember why we celebrate holidays and connect with our past. I love the beautiful postcard pictures too! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’m sure it will be tasty! 🙂

  • Your knowledge on so many different topics never ceases to amaze me. Great lesson!

  • Chester's Mom

    I love the picture of the first Thanksgiving. Can you just imagine how hard life was, especially for the women?

    • Suzanne

      Hi Chester’s mom,
      It must have been very hard, but I guess because they were used to it, they maybe didn’t think about it much? I always think about childbirth, and how many babies and young children didn’t survive.That must have been very hard to take.

  • I love the first picture in this post. I really love the baby cradle made from a log!! Also, I love how the first celebration lasted 3 days! I honestly think I would enjoy that!

  • Super job on the Thanksgiving info. We have been studying about the indians and the pilgrims. If wasn’t for the indians, they would all have starved to death. I really enjoyed your vintage photos. Thanks for sharing!

  • The best thing about Thanksgiving besides all the great food, Is giving thanks for the bounty of blessings we have by virtue of being Americans. God shed his grace on us.
    Happy Givingthanks day.

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