Thanksgiving has a long history, the earliest known records going back to the 16th century. Most people don't know that the actual activity of giving thanks while holding a feast is from long before the British came and settled America. The Spanish and the French both conducted thanksgiving at this time, and it wouldn't become a regular activity for British colonies until 1607 in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The first official town to hold a thanksgiving celebration was Jamestown, Virginia, which held it in 1610. The most famous celebration that most Americans view as the original thanksgiving was the Plymouth Plantation, located in Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the people who lived there had a feast every time they had a good harvest. It would continue as an event of religious purposes in the autumn or early winter, then became a tradition.
There was a Patuxet Native American from the Wampanoag tribe that taught the Pilgrims (early European settlers in Plymouth, Massachusetts) to catch eel as well as grow corn. His name was Squanto, and he learned English while enslaved in England. The leader of his tribe, Massasoit, gave the settlers supplies such as food during their first winter when they had run out.
The Pilgrims of Plymouth would celebrate for three days in 1621 shortly after their first harvest in 1621. While people aren't sure of the precise time, James Baker narrowed it down to between September 21st and November 11th, more likely near Michelmas (September 29th, the Feast of Saint Michaels, Gabriel, Uriel and Raphael). It included 50 people from the Mayflower, as well as 90 Native Americans. All the food was prepared by Pilgrim women, their young daughters, as well their servants.
By 1623, the event was noted by governmental authorities, making it the first 'true' Thanksgiving. Governor Bradford would be the one to officially give praise and notice to the event, and the feast was followed by members of the plantation fasting, and a 14-day rain followed. This rain followed a terrible drought, and Bradford wrote: 'And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing.'
Thanksgiving under the Continental-Confederation Congress, which governed the United States from 1774 until 1789, would declare several 'national days of prayer, humiliation, and thanksgiving'. This was continued by President George Washington and John Adams, and this would manifest itself into what we know as Thanksgiving in the United States of America today.
It wouldn't be until Abraham Lincoln became President, would a day be chosen for Thanksgiving. He would declare that the last Thursday of November would be a national Thanksgiving, and since 1863 it has been celebrated every year since. It is a staple of the United States now, and encompasses many different events including the feast, giving thanks, prayer, and American football.
Thanksgiving Worksheets and Thanksgiving Games
Thanksgiving Addition Game - Online Games
Thanksgiving Subtraction Game - Online Games
The First Thanksgiving Quiz
Thanksgiving Multiplication Game - Online Games
Thanksgiving History for Kids
Thanksgiving Word Search Game
Thanksgiving Dinner - Online Games
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