We have come to know Thanksgiving as a chance to express our gratitude and stuff ourselves with mashed potatoes, but the holiday’s history could be a bit more involved than that. The story of Thanksgiving is one of spectacle, entrepreneurial spirit, and economic recovery—and of course, feasting.
A woman named Sarah Josepha Hale lobbied Congress for years to make Thanksgiving an official vacation.
If it wasn’t for this determined woman, Thanksgiving wouldn’t exist today. Hale’s allegiance to Thanksgiving began in 1827 and was based mostly in national pride; she hoped to make it “permanently, an american custom and establishment.” It wasn’t until 1863 that President finally declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Seeing as the President did this in throws of the civil war, Thanksgiving is considered by some to be an attempt on behalf of the president to bring some peace back to the country.
Originally, Thanksgiving might not have been celebrated in November at all, but rather mid-October.
There isn’t clear historical information on the particular date of the first Thanksgiving. President Lincoln assigned the vacation to fall on the last thursday in November, possibly to coincide with the date the Pilgrims 1st landed the Mayflower in New England.
In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed the date of Thanksgiving to one week earlier.
The late President hoped that a extended holiday shopping season would increase spending and alleviate the crippling Depression. This resulted in 2 consecutive years of conflicting Thanksgiving Day celebrations, as some states refused to recognize the amendment.
By 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt gave in and signed a bill creating the fourth Thursday in November the official date for Thanksgiving nationwide, regardless of whether it’s the last thursday of the month or not. For years that November starts mid-week, like 2018 when november 1 was a thursday, this means a holiday that falls much earlier in the month (November 22, to be precise.) therefore if you’re feeling like turkey day snuck up on you this year, now you know why.
The first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1924 featured live animals from the central park zoo.
Though the parade stretched simply 2 blocks, new york city went all out for what newspapers were calling “a marathon of mirth.” additionally to four bands, a large Santa float, and costumed Macy’s employees, also taking part in the parade were bears, elephants, camels, and monkeys from the zoo.
Thanksgiving leftovers led to the first ever TV dinner.
The influential food corporation Swanson & Sons overestimated how much turkey would be consumed on Thanksgiving and had to get artistic with the 260 tons of leftover meat.
The menu for the first Thanksgiving dinner in Plymouth—which occurred in 1621—likely included lobster, seal, and swans.
No, turkey did not RSVP. The friendly feast between Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native Americans lasted for 3 days, during that both parties contributed to the meal. though there are few records of the actual menu, it’s best-known that the Pilgrims hunted for native fowl (swans very much included) and the Wampanoag brought five deer.
There is a Canadian Thanksgiving, however it’s much different.
It’s celebrated in October and falls on a Monday. The celebration isn’t centered around Native Americans and Pilgrims, but shopping instead. Over the centuries, their vacation tradition has changed from crop festivals, to explorations, to battle victories, and finally a general opportunity to give thanks and express gratitude (not unlike the american celebration).
The British don’t officially celebrate Thanksgiving, however they do celebrate “Brits-giving.”
Oh yes, it is a real thing. British increasingly embrace the american tradition to celebrate gratitude and national pride. however it wouldn’t be a real British tribute without their own unique take on the vacation. Hence, the origination of “Brits-giving.” whatever they want to call the compassionate tradition, we’re happy to welcome them to our table.