Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is an occasion of gratitude and thankfulness. Being around your loved ones and sharing a warm meal, can instantly raise your spirits. Watching Macy’s Thanksgiving parade or a football game are ways to celebrate the day.

On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans gather around the table filled with stuffed turkeys, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and more. It is interesting to know that the tradition and history of this holiday are wrapped around our forefathers.

The first Thanksgiving is supposed to have taken place in 1621. On this day, the Mayflower pilgrims who founded the Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts sat down and had a three-day meal with the Wampanoag. Many consider this meal to be an act of peace and settlement.

But it is often argued to be a routine English harvest celebration. Also, the relationship between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag was fraught, so it can’t necessarily be called a celebration.

In 1841, Alexander Young printed a book with a letter that described the 1641 feast. There he mentioned it to be Thanksgiving in the footnote. Then the name remained.

Usually, the days of the feast were marked by religious services. These symbolized a way of thanking God and celebrating a bountiful harvest. Many times, the holiday was also celebrated to mark the end of draughts, winning wars, or other military achievements.

George Washington during his tenure, first proclaimed the first national day of Thanksgiving. Though the following Presidents ignored it, Abraham Lincoln restored it again. Finally, it was in 1941 that the date was fixed to be on the last Thursday in November.

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