History of Thanksgiving

Nathan Stever, Reporter

Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, school is out to celebrate the holiday Thanksgiving. For nearly four centuries, America has celebrated this holiday in the spirit of thankfulness. 

This year marks the 398 anniversary of the holiday. Even as time goes on, the story will forever remain the same. In 1863, Thanksgiving became a national holiday. The first Thanksgiving lasted three days, and since then schools have allowed students to receive three days off, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, to celebrate the holiday. The reason behind the three days is common in America; however, it is unknown as to why.

The history of thanksgiving dates back to Christopher Columbus, a common name in America. With a holiday to celebrate his words, America honors him for founding America. He set sail on Aug. 3, 1492, with 90 other men in three ships.  In hopes of proving the earth was round he set sail in hopes to make it to India. When he landed in America, thinking it was India he called the natives, indians. The Wampanoag Indians showed kindness to the new settlers and taught them how to grow certain crops like corn.

Columbus appreciated this, but soon took over and oppressed the natives. He forced them into slavery, making them do all the work that was needed to be done. After Columbus’s death in 1506 because of congestive heart failure the pilgrims and the natives made right with each other.  

A century later, in 1621, the Wampanoag Indians and the newly settled Pilgrims shared a harvest over a three day feast. According to scholars, the meal most likely consisted of, venison, ham, variety of seafood, wild berries, vegetables and a turkey. To this day, the turkey is a key part in the meal.  

Most families in America will cook a turkey; however, some might cook duck, ham or maybe even a turducken (a mix between a turkey and a duck). As the years have passed, the meal has slowly changed and developed. Besides the fact the the feast is only one day rather than the original three, there is one other major change. In 1926, nearly three centuries after the first feast, America introduced the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. The goal was to celebrate the expansion of the franchise. 

As the three days off of school and work roll around the corner, so do the festivities. The history of how it all started will never change.