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What Makes Thanksgiving Great

Thanksgiving – a Uniquely American Holiday

The first Thanksgiving celebration was in 1621 in Plymouth Colony, later becoming Massachusetts. The Pilgrim settlers, English refugees fleeing religious persecution, held a feast as an expression of gratitude for a successful harvest and the survival of their community. It was also a celebration of appreciation for the incredible generosity and fullness of spirit shown by the indigenous Wampanoag people.

The colonists would not have survived the first winter in the new world were it not for the food the tribe shared with the refugees from across the ocean. For those Native American people to display such compassion and kindness to those so different still shines like a beacon of light for almost 400 years! Through the centuries until today, refugees have followed that light-seeking safety and a new life.

A Thanksgiving History Lesson

Thanksgiving did not become an annual celebration until much later. It was not until 1863 that Abraham Lincoln, in an official expression of gratitude for the Union Army victory at Gettysburg, declared the last Thursday of November a national holiday. In 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill into law officially making the fourth Thursday in November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

As Thanksgiving became increasingly popular through the years, it came to be synonymous with parades, football, turkey, and visits to grandma’s house.  Americans love Thanksgiving!  Let’s explore a few of the things we enjoy about this holiday. 

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