The fourth Thursday in November, whichever date it may fall, is the probably the busiest and biggest holiday recognized across America. Thanksgiving Day is a day to gather and give thanks for the blessings of the harvest through bountiful feast (oftentimes including the traditional turkey, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie) with family and friends, and football as well!
A small ship known as Mayflower carried 102 passengers of religious separatists who seek independence and the promised life in the new land, left Plymouth, England in September 1620. After a challenging voyage of life at sea, the Mayflower arrived in Massachusetts where the Pilgrims, as known today, began to establish a village and practice their unorthodox religion. However, their first winter caused an epidemic of several diseases in which only half survived the bitter cold. Spring came and after living aboard, they finally moved ashore where the Native Americans, lead by Squanto, taught the colonists how to plant crops and catch fish. With his help, the settlers were also able to create an alliance with the local tribe Wampanoag.
In 1621, during the first successful harvest by the Pilgrims, they invited the Wampanoag tribe, who came bearing five deer as gifts. It wasn’t only a day of food, hunting, and entertainment, it was a three-day festivity which was known to be the first Thanksgiving celebration. The first-ever national Thanksgiving Holiday was recognized in 1789 by George Washington. But it wasn’t until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln announced that Thanksgiving will be celebrated every year on the last Thursday of November as an annual holiday in America.
· Venison was among the menu during the first Thanksgiving celebration
· There were no turkey, pumpkin pies, nor potatoes, however lobster, seal, and swans were part of the Thanksgiving menu
· Sarah Josepha Hale published recipes for pumpkin pie, turkey, and stuffing
· Busiest holiday season with about 49.3 million Americans who traveled based from 2016 Thanksgiving