Thursday, November 27, 2008

Come, Ye Thankful People, Come

The Pilgrims arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1620, and celebrated their first harvest in 1621 with a feast. This celebration was not repeated, so it is not officially the first traditional Thanksgiving. It made a good story in elementary school, don't you think?

Actually, the First Thanksgiving Day in July of 1630, celebrating the arrival of Governor John Winthrop from England. This began the tradition in the colony which is still thriving today.

Before we were officially a country, George Washington's troops celebrated Thanksgiving on their way to Valley Forge. It was obviously important to him. After he was inaugurated as president of the new country, he declared Thanksgiving to be a national holiday in his "Presidential Proclamation Number One." It didn't stick as a national holiday, however, because the colonies couldn't agree. Aw, the beginning of politics in the United States.

Sarah Josepha Hale picked up the crusade for the holiday. President Abraham Lincoln agreed and proclaimed the fourth Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. He started a trend and every president since then issued a proclamation.

Thanksgiving is officially a national holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Well, there was that time FDR decided to change it to the third Thursday to give people more time to shop for Christmas, but he changed it back. Check the story of the Thanksgiving time line.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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