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The Grand History of Thanksgiving

Pots+and+pans%2C+used+for+the+dinner+of+Thanksgiving.
Pots and pans, used for the dinner of Thanksgiving.

Pots and pans, used for the dinner of Thanksgiving.

(Outlook/Brooke Turner)

(Outlook/Brooke Turner)

Pots and pans, used for the dinner of Thanksgiving.

Brooke Turner, Writer

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Thanksgiving nowadays doesn’t seem to have the same meaning it did many years ago. Everyone was thankful, and that was the whole point for it. Now, nobody seems to focus on that. They just want the food and don’t think about why we celebrate Thanksgiving, which is what we should be focusing on still. Being grateful for what our ancestors went through, and thinking about everything we have to be thankful for.

Thanksgiving dates back all the way to 1621. The Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians had a feast that created what we now know as Thanksgiving. The reason for the feast at the time was to celebrate a good harvest, however at the time they didn’t realize Thanksgiving would become what it is today.

Their second time celebrating an official Thanksgiving was in 1623. It marked the end of a long drought that had threatened that years harvest. The governor at the time announced a religious fast shortly afterwards.

In 1789, George Washington created the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the government. He wanted Americans to talk about how they were thankful for the independence they had won during the war.

Despite the first Thanksgiving being in 1621, it wasn’t until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln, the president at the time, decided that Thanksgiving was going to be a national holiday. He scheduled for it to be on the final Thursday of every November and it stayed that way until 1939 when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved up the holiday to a week after. That was because he wanted to help sales during the Great Depression. The people however, did not like it and he signed a bill two years later that would make Thanksgiving on the fourth of every November.

Some Native Americans have negative feelings towards Thanksgiving. In 1970 when it was the 350th anniversary of the landing of the pilgrims of Plymouth, people wanted the president of the Federated Eastern Indian League to speak at the banquet. He, however, wrote up a speech that accused the Plymouth colonists of taking a large amount of corn from Wampanoag graves. The people setting of the banquet didn’t like it, and so they didn’t let him speak at the ceremony. Many protested and buried the Plymouth rock.

Gracen Bayer, a freshman here at Capital, even agreed with how we aren’t truly thankful for it. “We’re honestly in it for the food and family time, but not really that thankful for it.” Bayer said.

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The Grand History of Thanksgiving