The history and tradition of an American holiday.

The first Thanksgiving meal in America was shared among the English colonists and the Wampanoag Native Americans over three days at harvest time in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621. The food on the table was very different from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner we enjoy today. The pilgrims and Native Americans had turkeys, but many other wild fowl were also available, such as geese, ducks, partridges, cranes, eagles, and even swans. The men hunted deer, and fish, clams and lobster were caught from the sea. Vegetables were not popular, even though they grew peas, carrots, lettuce, parsnips, beans, and radishes. The party probably did not have any dessert, either, since sweet potatoes were not common, and there was no recipe for pumpkin pie at the time. However, the spirit of giving thanks and of sharing our abundance with others has been carried through our nation’s history.

The tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving in America began in 1777, when General Washington and his army stopped on their way to Valley Forge to mark the occasion, as directed by the Continental Congress.

After being inaugurated the first president of the United States of America, Washington proclaimed November 26, 1789 as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer”.

The annual presidential proclamations of thanksgiving were discontinued until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition.

Then, on November 26, 1941, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed the bill establishing the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

For more information on the history and traditions of Thanksgiving in America, please visit the following websites: