Why Do We Celebrate Thanksgiving?


Malu Ing, Writer

Thanksgiving is a national holiday, celebrated in the United States and in Canada. In 1621, the pilgrims invited Wampanoag Indians to a feast in Plymouth colony to celebrate their first harvest. The food used then wasn’t the food that we all know now in our Thanksgiving dinner. They were served some sort of fowl but it wasn’t necessarily a turkey, pumpkin was in attendance but not into a pie, and sweet potatoes weren’t a thing during that time. 

In 1798 George Washington declared Thursday November 26 a Thanksgiving holiday, but only for that year, and it went away from what the pilgrims did and celebrated the day as a “public thanksgiving and prayer”, for “the service of that great and glorious being who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be”.

A 19th century author, poet, and magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale was a highly patriotic person who read about the feast that took place in 1621 and wanted to turn it into a national holiday. She published recipes for turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie in Godey’s lady’s book. Then started to persuade President Abraham Lincoln into making Thanksgiving an official annual holiday. In 1846 she started to build public support by writing an editorial every year using her magazine, and even sent letters to all the Governors in the U.S states and territories. 

In 1863 Lincoln made Thanksgiving as an official holiday to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year. Then in 1936 President Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday in November so that there would be more time to go Christmas shopping which is in December. Two years later Thanksgiving was then again moved back to the fourth Thursday in November. 

Thanksgiving Day with my family.


Strauss, V. (2019, April 18). Why we celebrate Thanksgiving every year. It isn’t what you think. Retrieved November 30, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2014/11/26/why-we-celebrate-thanksgiving-every-year-it-isnt-what-you-think/