Giving Thanks For Thanksgiving

By: Beth Ferester & Company | Published 11/27/2019


Thanksgiving is arguably one of the biggest holidays of the year. But how many of us know the full history behind this beloved annual celebration? As it is Thanksgiving week, I thought it would be interesting to educate myself on how this holiday came to be an official part of our annual calendar. Most historians agree that the first Thanksgiving occurred at a celebration feast in 1621 at which the Pilgrims of Plymouth shared the good fortune of their harvest with the Wampanoag people. The peaceful festivities lasted for three days and set the stage for many future celebratory feasts that marked military victories and other noteworthy events. In 1789, to honor the creation of the new Constitution and the new nation, George Washington issued a proclamation designating November 26th of that year as a “Day of Public Thanksgiving”. He wanted to recognize the emergence of the new nation from the Revolution and called this day of thanksgiving so the people could acknowledge God for affording them “an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.” Thanksgiving became a yearly tradition in many communities who wanted to give thanks to God for their many blessings, but some later presidents, including Thomas Jefferson, felt that the religious demonstration of piety was not appropriate for a government holiday. This was due to the separation of church and state, therefore no more presidential proclamations were made until the 1860s. To continue reading please go to

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