A Thankful Beginning

Anna Sturgeon, Staff writer

The Thanksgiving celebration began in 1620 after the Mayflower landed in Massachusetts Bay, only half the crew remained after the first winter spent in the new land. In the following spring, the pilgrims were visited by the Abenaki Native American tribe who introduced them to Squanto. Squanto taught the pilgrims how to cultivate corn, catch fish, and avoid poisonous plants.  In November 1621, the pilgrims completed their first successful harvest. As a show of appreciation, they invited the Native Americans to a harvest feast and celebrated what is now referred to as “The First Thanksgiving”.

Thanksgiving was designated on one or more days a year in 1789 by George Washington, as well as his successors John Adams and James Madison.  In 1817, New York became the first of many states to adopt Thanksgiving as an annual holiday; though states celebrated on different days. In 1827, Sarah Joseph Hale, a magazine editor, editor, and author, launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday for 36 years.  In 1863, Abraham Lincoln finally headed her request, earning Sarah the nickname the “Mother Of Thanksgiving”.

Today, Thanksgiving has lost most of its religious significance, instead now focusing on cooking and sharing a large meal with friends and family.  Traditional Thanksgiving foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and turkey.  According to the National Turkey Federation, roughly 90% of Americans eat turkey, whether it is roasted, baked, or even deep-fried!  Other Thanksgiving traditions include volunteering, parades, and football. New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade, the largest and most view Thanksgiving Day Pared, attracting 2-3 million people along a 2.5-mile route in New York City.  Though often overlooked due to Christmas and Halloween, Thanksgiving still manages to warm the hearts of families and friends as they celebrate together and share the holiday.