Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving History

I am really getting excited about dinner tomorrow! family arrives.  My sweetheart, Brian from Seattle and my parents and uncle from Eugene.  Our party starts this afternoon and won't end until bedtime on Sunday.

Our Thanksgiving celebrations are rich in history, but do we really know the true history of Thanksgiving.

Here are a few facts and figures to share around your dinner table.



  • In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is commonly traced to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth, MA.  The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest.  
  •  The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
  • Much like in Canada, Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history. From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. 
  • The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century. 
  •  It was not until December 26, 1941, that the unified date changed to the fourth Thursday (and not always final) in November—this time by federal legislation.
  • Interestingly enough, in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move the official Thanksgiving date to earlier in November in order encourage a longer Christmas shopping season as a Depression recovery strategy. His idea was shut down by Congress.