News‎ > ‎

The History and Culture of Thanksgiving

posted Nov 17, 2017, 4:23 AM by Jeffrey Wolf

By: Chloe Schmidt, Staff Writer

Posted November 17th, 2017

Thursday, November 23rd: the day everybody’s excited for-just to eat pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes.

The history behind it is commonly known. The Pilgrims and Native Americans had a feast together to celebrate the harvest. But that’s not all of the important facts- I’ll tell you more.

For starters, Thanksgiving wasn’t considered a national holiday until Abraham Lincoln declared it one in 1863, when he also announced he wanted it to occur each November. The first annual Thanksgiving occurred in 1817 in the state of New York.

Squanto, a Native American from the tribe Pawtuxet, helped the starving, freezing, and diseased colonists. They were taught how to cultivate crops, fish, avoid poisonous plants, extract sap from trees, and form an alliance with a local tribe.

When the colonists had their first successful harvest, Governor William Bradford invited local Native American tribes and allies to join the feast. The feast lasted three whole days. They ate at least five deer seasoned with common Native American spices and cooking methods. However, the typical pies and desserts we see at Thanksgiving today weren’t available then due to ovens not being invented yet and the Native American’s decreased sugar supply.

The story of Thanksgiving is well known, but it’s always nice to go in deeper to the subject of why we celebrate holidays. Especially this one: a holiday for peace and giving thanks.