First Feast. 1621 or 1863?

Written by Georgia Miller

Growing up we were all told that the first thanksgiving feast was in 1621, but do you even know the real facts? When it was an official day, why they actually had that feast in 1621, who made it official? Well I am very glad that you don’t because guess what! You are about to learn something new about the tradition you have, most likely, celebrated all your life.
thanksgiving-clip-artOkay let’s start with something simple; the “first feast. This feast happened in 1621 and there is a lot more to it than just an invitation to some random Indians and a whole lot of food. When the Plymouth colonist arrived they were clueless. In turn they decided to get off on the right foot with their new neighbors, the Wampanoag Indians. They became friends with the Wampanoag and with this friendship came a lot of helpful tips for surviving. The Wampanoag taught them how to hunt, fish, cook, farm, and basically how to survive. By Autumn the Plymouth colonists had enough food to last through the winter. In celebration four all that they had collected they invited the Wampanoag Indians to a three day feast. Today it is known as the first Thanksgiving. In a way that could be considered true but in reality a lot of time and traditions passed between that feast and the first official Thanksgiving day.

As said before a lot of time and traditions passed between the first feast and when an official day was set aside four Thanksgiving. The Plymouth weren’t known for the first feast four a very long time. It was actually more of a religious thing that descended from the puritan days. Later on in history it became a colony thing. Meaning that every Autumn the governor of each individual colony would declare days of Thanksgiving four either a bountiful harvest, a victory in battle, or drought ending rains. Actually in 1777 the continental congress declared that all 13 colonies were to celebrate a national day of Thanksgiving that year in celebration of their victory over the British in Saratoga. There were a few select people though that really wanted it to become an official thing that everyone celebrates on the same day. One of these people, Sarah Josepha Hale, wrote many letters to politicians about making it a national day. Her efforts were finally rewarded by Abraham Lincoln (he saw the unifying potential of the holiday). He made it official in 1863, 4 months after the battle of Gettysburg, he proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held every November on the last Thursday of the month.   


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