How Thanksgiving Came To Be

The story about how Thanksgiving became what it is now.


A drawing of what the first Thanksgiving could have looked like

Leo Lee

 Every fourth Thursday of November, families come together to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. Thanksgiving is an annual, American holiday, where people gather to remember the 1621 harvest feast, shared between the Pilgrims of Plymouth and The Wampanoag people. This all started the yearly tradition of celebrating Thanksgiving. Although millions of people love to celebrate Thanksgiving, many of them don’t know the history of how Thanksgiving Day came to be. 

In September of 1620, the Pilgrims left England to find a new home where they could practice their religion freely. After 66 days on the Mayflower, the Pilgrims finally arrived at Plymouth, Massachusetts. There, the Pilgrims met a group of Native Americans called the Wampanoag and they forged an alliance with each other. The Pilgrims were taught how to grow corn, catch fish, avoid poisonous plants, and more. A year later, in November 1621, the Pilgrims’ first harvest was successful. William Bradford, a former governor of the Plymouth colony invited their Native American allies and celebrated with a feast. They prepared seafood, venison, lots of vegetables, and turkey. This feast was remembered as the first Thanksgiving. From then on, the Pilgrims held feasts occasionally every year or two.

In 1817, centuries after the first Thanksgiving, New York became the first state to have Thanksgiving as an annual holiday. However, this holiday was still new to some parts of the United States. A decade later, a magazine editor named Sarah Hale requested that Thanksgiving is to be a national holiday in all parts of the U.S. Although it took a lengthy period of time, president Abraham Lincoln finally accepted her request after 36 years, in 1863, and Thanksgiving finally became a national holiday.

A Thanksgiving meal

Thanksgiving has changed much over the years. Now, families celebrate Thanksgiving by preparing a big meal to share with friends and families. Some foods people eat including stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, corn, pumpkin pie, and the most famous, turkey. Now that Thanksgiving is close, families are getting ready to celebrate. Are you going to be celebrating with your family and friends?