The History of Thanksgiving
On October 3, 1789, George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving. However, on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln officially proclaimed the national holiday of Thanksgiving. Congress signed it into law in 1941. From that point on, we in the states started doing this little turkey dance every last Thursday in November.
- •The first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth Colony in present-day Massachusetts in November of 1621It took place between the new Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians in celebration of the English settlers' first Autumn harvest
- •The meal was shared between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag in fear, not mutual admirationYellow Feather Oasmeequin [Massasoit] made a treaty with John Carver, the first governor of the colony, that guaranteed mutual protection and collaboration. After the successful harvest, the Pilgrims began shooting guns and cannons into the air. As the Indians didn't know what the Pilgrims were shooting at, Massasoit gathered 90 Indians to engage. When they arrived at the Pilgrims' site, the Wampanaog were told that it was a celebration so they stayed to make sure that was actually true.
- •Colony governor William Bradford sent four men on a fowling mission in preparation for a three-day eventWild turkeys may or may not have been included in the game catch. According to record, the Wampanoag later came with an offering of five deer
- •Along with vegetables like corn, peas, spinach, and lettuce, and fruits like blueberries, gooseberries, raspberries, and cranberries, culinary historians believe that the majority of the Thanksgiving feast actually consisted of seafoodMussels, which could easily be collected from rocks along the shoreline, were in great abundance in New England at the time
- •Potatoes were never on the tableThe Spanish had only began introducing the South American-indigenous tuber to Europeans around 1570. By the time the Pilgrims had boarded the Mayflower, potatoes would not yet have made an appearance in America or popular enough to have been brought over on the ship.