Every one of us certainly does enjoy that great Thanksgiving dinner at one of our favorite aunt or grandmas. A table is full of oyster stew, cranberry sauce, baked carrots and potatoes, mincemeat pie, fruit cakes, hot rolls, and of course, the giant roast turkey. But thanksgiving is not just about eating until your stomach aches. The history of this holiday is certainly more than that!
The first thanksgiving dates back to 1621. This festival originally started at a village named Plymouth. Some sacred refugees from England known popularly as the Pilgrims came to America where they could freely practice their religion. After months of the tiring journey, their ship crossed Massachusetts Bay, where they started constructing a village of their own. When the Pilgrims had their first successful harvest of corn and beans, they invited the local Native Americans to a feast known as the “first thanksgiving”. As the Pilgrims were sacred and religious people and many of them did not survive to see them settle down, the idea behind thanksgiving was to thank the gods for the food they provided to their people and did not let them starve to death. They believed that the Gods did mercy on them in the form of a successful harvest season and did not ruin their crops by extreme and harsh weather.
For two centuries, thanksgiving was celebrated in different forms throughout the country. After many years passed and this custom continued, thanksgiving became a National Holiday in America in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared a National Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
Now every year fourth Thursday of November is celebrated as Thanksgiving Day as part of the holiday season. Celebrations are in the air and the whole country is decorated giving the true holiday essence. There are special thanksgiving parades aired on tv featuring marching bands and performers. People gather at each other’s houses for a huge feast with traditional food on the menu. Many families include their entire family to prepare a great dinner.
Although turkey is considered to be an important dish for this holiday history shows that turkey was not on the menu back then. The feast only included goose, lobster, cod, and deer. But as time evolved food items started changing and many people placed their own favorite items on the thanksgiving traditional menu. Some of the most loved items on the Thanksgiving menu include turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes and yams, mashed potatoes, cornbread, cranberry sauce, and the famous thanksgiving pumpkin pie. Other pie flavors include pecan, apple, and sweet potato.
One of the most wonderful things about the Thanksgiving holiday is people spending time with their families. Many people live far away and travel long distances to meet their loved ones thus, making Thanksgiving the busiest travel day of the year!
Many people view thanksgiving as a great opportunity to help the needy and less fortunate. Volunteering is a common activity on this day and people can be seen participating in food drives and donating food to shelters.