Thanksgiving is the start of what is known as “The Holiday Season” along with Christmas or Hanukkah and New Year’s. Everyone is taught about the Pilgrims and Indians first feast, many of us dressed up at school to celebrate the occasion. How many of you know exactly how Thanksgiving came to be a national holiday?
The “First Thanksgiving”, of which the American holiday is named for started on December 13, 1621; although there were Thanksgiving type festivals in Virginia as early as 1607. The 1621 celebration was a three-day feast to celebrate the Pilgrims’ first harvest and friendship with the Wampanoag Native Americans. According to Pilgrim Edward Winslow’s account, the feast was attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans.
Unlike today’s Thanksgiving feast which often consists of turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, bread and pumpkin pie; the first feast included foods such as venison, wild water fowl, barley, porridge, Indian corn, onions, stewed turnips, squashes, green beans, carrots, berries, nuts, eel, shellfish and smoked fish. The celebration would have been for the men only, with the woman serving and tending to the needs. A lot has changed since then.
Although the Pilgrims intended to make the feast an annual occurrence, this did not happen and the next true Thanksgiving celebration wasn’t until 1789, at which time President George Washington declared Thursday, November 26, 1789 the “First Ever National Thanksgiving Holiday”. Thanksgiving celebrations were still held but not regularly or as a national holiday. It wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared the national holiday be held in November. It wasn’t until 1941, that Congress set the fourth Thursday of November as the date for the national holiday of Thanksgiving.
As you can see, today’s Thanksgiving celebrations are quite different from the original in 1621, however, it continues to be a day where people gather for giving thanks, watching parades, feasting on delicious food, watching football games and most importantly spending time with family and friends.
Just remember when you gather with your friends and family for your Thanksgiving celebrations that Thanksgiving is one of the very first American holidays. It represents a celebration of both survival and new beginnings. We at Sign-Express have so much to be thankful for this holiday season. We too are celebrating a new beginning and the joining of friends and family to build upon the Sign-Express brand. We are thankful for our clients and those friends that support Sign-Express’s endeavors.
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