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Day is a day set aside each year for
giving thanks to God for blessings received during the
year. On this day, people give thanks with feasting and
prayer. The holiday is celebrated in the United States
What is the History of
first Thanksgiving Days in New England were harvest
festivals, or days for thanking God for plentiful crops.
For this reason, the holiday still takes place late in
the fall, after the crops have been gathered. For
thousands of years, people in many parts of the world
have held harvest festivals. The American Thanksgiving
Day probably grew out of the harvest-home celebrations of
In the United States, Thanksgiving is usually a family
day, celebrated with big dinners and joyous reunions. The
very mention of Thanksgiving often calls up memories of
kitchens and pantries crowded with good things to eat.
Thanksgiving is also a time for serious religious
thinking, church services, and prayer.
The first Thanksgiving observance in America was entirely
religious and did not involve feasting. On Dec. 4, 1619,
a group of 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley
Plantation, on the James River near what is now Charles
City, Va. The group's charter required that the day of
arrival be observed yearly as a day of thanksgiving to
The first Thanksgiving in New England was celebrated in
Plymouth less than a year after the Plymouth colonists
had settled in America. The first dreadful winter in
Massachusetts had killed about half the members of the
colony. But new hope arose in the summer of 1621. The
settlers expected a good corn harvest, despite poor crops
of peas, wheat, and barley. Thus, in early autumn,
governor William Bradford arranged a harvest festival to
give thanks to God for the progress the colony had made.
The festival lasted three days. The men of Plymouth had
shot ducks, geese, and turkeys. The menu also included
clams, eel and other fish, wild plums and leeks, corn
bread, and watercress. The women of the settlement
supervised cooking over outdoor fires. About 90 Indians
also attended the festival. They brought five deer to add
to the feast. Everyone ate outdoors at large tables and
enjoyed games and a military review. Similar harvest
Thanksgivings were held in Plymouth during the next
several years, but no traditional date was set.
Later Thanksgiving Days in the United States. The custom
of Thanksgiving Day spread from Plymouth to other New
England colonies. During the Revolutionary War, eight
special days of thanks were observed for victories and
for being saved from dangers. In 1789, President George
Washington issued a general proclamation naming November
26 a day of national thanksgiving. In the same year, the
Protestant Episcopal Church announced that the first
Thursday in November would be a regular yearly day for
For many years, the country had no regular national
Thanksgiving Day. But some states had a yearly
Thanksgiving holiday. By 1830, New York had an official
state Thanksgiving Day, and other Northern states soon
followed its example. In 1855, Virginia became the
nation's first Southern state to adopt the custom.
Who is responsible for the
Josepha Hale, pronounced joh SEE fuh (1788-1879), became
one of the most famous magazine editors in the United
States during the 1800's. As editor of the Ladies'
Magazine and, later, of Godey's Lady's Book, she helped
shape the taste and thought of thousands of women.
She worked many years to promote the idea of a national
Thanksgiving Day. She received credit for persuading
President Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national
holiday. Then President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the
last Thursday in November 1863, as "a day of
thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father."
Each year afterward, for 75 years, the President formally
proclaimed that Thanksgiving Day should be celebrated on
the last Thursday of November. But in 1939, President
Franklin D. Roosevelt set it one week earlier. He wanted
to help business by lengthening the shopping period
before Christmas. Congress ruled that after 1941 the
fourth Thursday of November would be observed as
Thanksgiving Day and would be a legal federal holiday.
Of her many writings, her major surviving work is the
children's poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
Sarah Hale was born in Newport, New Hampshire.
How did we get the
Sarah Josepha, pronounced joh SEE fuh (1788-1879), became
one of the most famous magazine editors in the United
States during the 1800's. As editor of the Ladies'
Magazine and, later, of Godey's Lady's Book, she helped
shape the taste and thought of thousands of women. She
received credit for persuading President Abraham Lincoln
to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. Of her many
writings, her major surviving work is the children's
poem, "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Sarah Hale was
born in Newport, New Hampshire.
When is Thanksgiving
American Thanksgiving is Celebrated
Thursday November 25th, 2010
Canadian Thanksgiving Day is Monday October 11th, 2010
Congress ruled that after 1941 the fourth Thursday of
November would be observed as Thanksgiving Day
and would be a legal federal holiday.
What is the Plymouth Rock?
Rock, pronounced PLIHM uhth, a granite boulder with the
date 1620 carved on it, lies near the sea at Plymouth,
Mass. According to a popular story, a party of Pilgrim
explorers from the Mayflower stepped ashore on this rock
when they landed at Plymouth on Dec. 21, 1620. Many
historians, however, doubt that the Pilgrims actually
stepped on the rock. It is more likely that the rock was
near the spot where the Pilgrims landed. The rock was
moved several times between 1774 and 1921. Today, it
stands under a granite canopy near the water's edge,
where it serves as a memorial to the landing of the
Pilgrims in 1620.
What is a Cornucopia?
pronounced kawr nuh KOH pee uh, is a horn of plenty, a
symbol of nature's productivity. According to Greek
mythology, it was one of the horns of Amalthaea, the goat
who nursed the god Zeus when he was a baby. The horn
produced ambrosia and nectar, the food and drink of the
gods. In Roman mythology, the cornucopia was the horn of
the river god Achelous. The hero Hercules broke off the
horn in combat with Achelous, who was fighting in the
form of a bull. Water nymphs filled the horn with flowers
and fruit and offered it to Copia, the goddess of plenty.
What is a Traditional
similar to a Traditional Christmas Dinner Menu?
traditional Christmas dinner includes corn bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, turkey, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and a variety of other
dishes. Some families have roast goose instead of turkey.
Favorite desserts include pumpkin pie. I love the French
green beans with Durkee Onion Rings on top. Fluffly Bisquits and home made Gravy too.
The Perfect Thanksgiving from FabulousFoods.com
Let me tell you about
Cranberry Sauce: Cranberry is a red, tart,
round or oval fruit that grows on an evergreen vine. In
the United States, cranberry sauce is a traditional
Thanksgiving food. Some North American Indians have
traditionally used the berries as a medicine and as a
dye. Cranberry vines are native to North America. Cranberries are harvested in September
are some Cranberry Sauce Recipes: Cranberry-Orange
Sauce & Grandma's Fresh & Cranberry Relish & Southwestern
Cranberry Sauce. I haven't used
any of them but thought they looked good!
Turkeys are the favorite
Turkey: Turkey is a large North
American bird related to chickens, peafowl, and
pheasants. American Indians raised turkeys for food as
early as A.D. 1000. Today, turkeys are a part of
traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners in many
homes throughout the United States and Canada. The U.S.
turkey industry produces a gross income of about $1
billion a year. On the average, people in the United
States consume 18 pounds (8 kilograms) of turkey per
is a link to "Editors Tips". They talk about all the
safety tips and hints you will need to help you have a
perfect Turkey to serve this year.
Who is TOM Turkey and how
did he get his name?
It is really
not a special turkey with a name. Male turkeys are called
toms, and female turkeys are called hens. Baby turkeys
are called poults. Toms reach market weight--about 24
pounds (11 kilograms)--approximately 19 to 20 weeks after
What are the Activities
people do on Thanksgiving?
families enjoy watching the Macey's Thanksgiving Parade
Parade is a public march or procession
honoring a particular occasion. The mood of a parade may
vary from joyous excitement to solemn dignity. Many
parades have floats, music, marchers, and trained
Football originated in the United
States. It began to develop during the mid-1800's. The
sport grew out of soccer and Rugby, two kicking games
that were developed in England. Soccer is called football
in many countries, but the game differs considerably from
The history of football:
Beginnings. Football began to develop
during the mid-1800's, when a game similar to soccer was
played in the Eastern United States. The object of the
game was simply to kick a round ball across the other
team's goal line. The teams sometimes had 30 or more
The first game resembling present-day
football was played in 1874, when a team from McGill
University in Montreal, Canada, visited Harvard
University. The Canadian team wanted to play the English
game of rugby, which permitted running with the ball and
tackling. Harvard preferred to play its soccerlike game,
in which players advanced the ball mainly by kicking. The
teams agreed to play two games, the first under Harvard
rules and the second under McGill rules. Harvard liked
McGill's rugby game so much that it introduced the sport
to other Eastern colleges. Running and tackling soon
became as important as kicking in the U.S. game. Visit: Annie's
Super Bowl Game
Life in Colonial America
story of the American colonists tells of the men, women,
and children who left behind the Old World of Europe for
a new life in North America. It describes the everyday
life of the settlers in the communities they developed.
It also tells of the meeting of cultures, as Europeans
and Indians came into contact with each other. The
British American colonial period began in the late 1500's
with English attempts to settle Newfoundland and Roanoke
Island, off the coast of what is now North Carolina. It
ended with the start of the Revolutionary War in America
of the colonists came to North America from England,
Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. But the New World attracted
settlers from France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden,
and other European countries as well.
The majority of settlers came to the colonies for
economic opportunity or to avoid political and religious
unrest at home. However, not all colonists arrived
voluntarily. The slave trade brought large numbers of
people from Africa against their will. Some orphans were
sent from England to America under labor contracts over
which they had no control. Some English convicts were
transported to the colonies to become servants.
Were the Indians and the
Colonists really friendly?
the Europeans arrived in North America, the continent was
already home to many groups of Native Americans with many
different cultures. The Indians were originally helpful
to the colonists, and trade developed between the two
groups. This trade changed the society of both the
Indians and the settlers. The Indians strongly resisted
the settlers' attempts to claim more and more Indian
land. From time to time, fighting broke out between the
colonists and the Indians. Eventually, the colonists
pushed most of the Indians to the west.
Did the pilgrims come to
America for Religious Freedom?
they came for Religious and political reasons. Some of
the colonists, beginning with the Pilgrims in 1620, came
to the New World to create communities where they could
worship in their own way. Throughout the colonial period,
many groups headed for the colonies to escape persecution
for their religious beliefs. Among those religious groups
were Quakers and Roman Catholics from England, Huguenots
from France, Moravians from Germany, and Jews from
rulers insisted that all people living in their country
attend the same church. They persecuted those who could
not agree. For example, more than 100,000 Protestants
known as Huguenots fled Roman Catholic France for other
What is The Mayflower?
the ship that carried the first Pilgrims to America, in
1620. It was built around 1610 and probably had three
masts and two decks. It probably measured about 90 feet
(27 meters) long and weighed about 180 short tons (163
metric tons). Its master, Christopher Jones, was a
The Mayflower left England on Aug. 15, 1620 (August 5
according to the calendar then in use) with another ship,
the Speedwell. After turning back twice because of leaks
on the Speedwell, the Mayflower sailed alone from
Plymouth on September 16 (September 6), with 102
passengers. The ship reached Cape Cod on November 21
(November 11), off what is now Provincetown Harbor. It
reached the present site of Plymouth, Mass., on December
26 (December 16), five days after a small party explored
The Mayflower left America on April 15, 1621 (April 5,
1621). Historians are not certain what happened to the
ship after it returned to England. Some believe it was
dismantled after Jones died in 1622, although a ship
called the Mayflower made trips to America after that.
Others believe that William Russell bought the Mayflower
for salvage, and used its hull as a barn roof. The barn
stands in Jordans, a village outside London.
The Mayflower II, built the way the original Mayflower is
thought to have looked, is kept in Plymouth, Mass. In
1957, it crossed the Atlantic in 54 days. The Britons who
built the replica gave it to the American people as a
symbol of friendship.
Learn about the Pilgrims
The Pilgrims. In the 1500's, some
members of the Church of England, known as
Puritans,favored reforms to "purify" the
church. By the late 1500's, some Puritan congregations
had broken away from the church entirely, and had become
known as Separatists. Some Separatists sought religious
freedom in Holland, then decided to begin a new life in
The early English settlers of New England became known as
the Pilgrims. On Sept. 16, 1620, 41 Separatists and 61
other people from England became the first group of
Pilgrims to journey to America. These Pilgrims sailed
from Plymouth, England, in the Mayflower. That November,
the Mayflower anchored in what is now Provincetown
harbor. Before leaving the ship, the Pilgrims drew up a
plan of self-government, which they called the Mayflower
Compact. In December, they sailed across Cape Cod Bay and
settled in Plymouth.
The Pilgrims suffered great hardships during their first
winter in America. They had little food other than the
game they could hunt. Their houses were crude bark
shelters. About half the settlers died during the winter
of 1620-1621. Early in 1621, the Pilgrims became friendly
with some Indians. The Indians taught them how to plant
corn and beans. By the time cold weather came again, the
settlers were living more comfortably. They had enough
food to last the winter. The Pilgrims celebrated the
first New England Thanksgiving in 1621.
More settlers came to the Plymouth Colony during the
years that followed. Within 20 years after the Pilgrims
landed, Plymouth Colony had eight towns and about 2,500
The Plymouth Colony:
Colony, pronounced PLIHM uhth, was the second permanent
English settlement in America. The colonists who settled
there became known as Pilgrims because of their
wanderings in search of religious freedom. In 1620, they
established their colony on the rocky western shore of
Cape Cod Bay in southeastern Massachusetts. This region
had been called Plimouth on John Smith's map of New
England, drawn in 1614. The Pilgrims established the
Congregational Church in America. Plymouth Colony
remained independent until 1691, when it became part of
Massachusetts Bay Colony.
Plymouth Colony and the Pilgrims have become for all
Americans a lesson of how a people with little more than
courage, perseverance, and hard work could build
themselves a home in a hostile world. Their bravery set
an example for future generations of Americans.
Many tourists visit modern Plymouth with its memorials to
the Pilgrim forefathers. Just south of town there is a
model of the original Pilgrim village. Plimoth
Plantation, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to
the preservation of the Pilgrim heritage, also maintains
a replica of the first Pilgrim house and of the
How was The Plymouth Colony
of the Pilgrims were Separatists (Puritans who had
separated from the Church of England). The government of
England arrested and tried the Separatists because of
their nonconformity (refusal to belong to the Church of
England). In 1608, a group of Separatists moved to the
Netherlands. After a few years, some of them became
dissatisfied, and felt that things would be better in a
new land. They secured financial backing in London, and,
in 1620, left the Netherlands in a small ship called the
Speedwell. The ship stopped in England, and the
expedition was joined by other English people who hoped
to better their lives. The group left England in the
Speedwell and a larger ship, the Mayflower. The Speedwell
proved unseaworthy, and the fleet returned to England
twice. Finally, in September 1620, the Mayflower sailed
alone from Plymouth, England. It carried 102 passengers,
including women and children.
A rough passage of 65 days brought the Mayflower to Cape
Cod on November 20 (November 10, according to the
calendar then in use). The Pilgrims had promised to
settle somewhere within the limits of the original grant
of the Virginia Company of Plymouth. But errors in
navigation led them to the New England region. Adverse
winds and the shoals off Cape Cod forced the Mayflower to
stay north. The ship anchored in Provincetown harbor
inside the tip of Cape Cod on November 21.
The Pilgrim leaders were uncertain of their legal
position because they were in the area without authority.
They also knew they would need discipline among
themselves. To solve these problems, 41 men aboard the
Mayflower met and signed the Mayflower Compact, the first
agreement for self-government in America. The Pilgrims
also elected John Carver as their governor.
The landing at Plymouth. The sea-weary Pilgrims were
anxious to learn more about the country. For almost a
month, several small groups explored the coast around
Cape Cod Bay while the rest remained aboard. One of the
groups had to take refuge on an island in Plymouth harbor
during a blinding snowstorm. On Dec. 21, 1620, this group
landed at Plymouth. There they found a stream with clear
water, some cleared land, and a high hill that could be
fortified. This site was once an Indian village, but
smallpox had wiped out all the Indians in 1617. The
Pilgrims decided that this would be their new home. The
Mayflower sailed across Cape Cod Bay and anchored in
Plymouth harbor on December 26.
The first year was a difficult one for the Pilgrims. Poor
and inadequate food, strenuous work, and changeable
weather made the settlers susceptible to sickness. The
colony lost about half its members that first winter.
But help came one spring morning, when an Indian walked
into the little village and introduced himself to the
startled people as Samoset. He later returned with
Squanto. They introduced the Pilgrims to Massasoit, the
sachem (chief) of the Wampanoag tribe that controlled all
southeastern Massachusetts. Carver and the chief
exchanged gifts and arranged a treaty of peace. Soon
afterward, the Mayflower sailed for England, leaving the
Pilgrims. Then Carver died, and William Bradford became
governor of the colony.
The Pilgrims, under Squanto's direction, caught alewives
(a fish in the herring family) and used them as
fertilizer in planting corn, pumpkins, and beans. They
hunted and fished for food. The harvest that year led
Governor Bradford to declare a celebration. Sometime in
the autumn of 1621, the Pilgrims invited their Indian
friends to join them in a three-day festival that we now
call the first New England Thanksgiving. The menu
included corn bread, duck, eel, goose, wild leeks,
shellfish, venison, watercress, and wine.
Life in Plymouth Colony
The Pilgrims received legal rights to settle at Plymouth
under a patent granted by the Council for New England in
1621. Governor Bradford received a new patent, the
Warwick Patent, in 1630. It granted him all the land
south of a line between Narragansett Bay and Cohasset.
Under this patent, Bradford could have claimed ownership
of the entire colony, but he shared control with the
other settlers. He turned the patent over to all the
freemen (voters) of the colony in 1640. A few years
later, surveyors marked off an area corresponding to the
present counties of Bristol, Barnstable, and Plymouth as
the colony of Plymouth.
Expansion of the colony. In
November 1621, the ship Fortune arrived with 35 new
colonists. Other ships brought additional settlers but
the population grew to only 300 settlers in 10 years.
Some of the colonists decided to move from Plymouth to
better lands. Some went north and established the towns
of Duxbury, Marshfield, and Scituate. Others moved west
to Rehoboth, or farther east on Cape Cod to settle
Sandwich, Barnstable, Yarmouth, and Eastham.
Government. The men
who signed the Mayflower Compact were the freemen of the
colony. They, along with any newly chosen freemen, met
once a year to discuss the problems of the colony. This
body, called the General Court, elected the governor and
his assistants, made laws, and levied taxes. In outlying
towns, the freemen held town meetings to elect their own
officers and settle town matters. Beginning in 1639,
these towns sent representatives to the General Court at
Economic life. The
Pilgrims organized a joint-stock company with some London
merchants to finance the voyage. The partnership was to
last for seven years. The Pilgrims agreed to put the
results of their labor into a common fund, which would
provide the necessities of life for the settlers. At the
end of seven years, all the profits and property were to
be divided among the financiers and the settlers. This
experiment did not work out, and in 1623 the colony
allowed settlers to farm individual plots. The London
merchants in 1627 agreed to sell their interest in the
company to the Pilgrims, who finished paying off the debt
The Pilgrims at first expected to make a profit from
fishing. But they were never very successful at this.
They turned to farming for their existence and to fur
trading for profit. When other Puritans settled
Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1628, the Pilgrims developed
a prosperous trade in corn and cattle with them. Through
steady and hard work, the colony was able to live
moderately well without extremes of wealth or poverty.
The honored ones. William Bradford, the second governor
of Plymouth, wrote a history of the Pilgrims' adventure
aboard the Mayflower.
the Ship's Passenger List visit:
"Mayflower Passenger List" Page
years: The Massachusetts Bay Colony's superior harbor at
Boston helped draw trade and settlers from Plymouth
Colony. Boundary and trade disputes increased among the
colonies that had formed in the area. The Pilgrims also
faced the danger of attack by nearby Indians and Dutch
and French colonists. In 1643, Plymouth Colony joined the
Massachusetts Bay, Connecticut, and New Haven colonies in
forming the New England Confederation. This alliance
worked to settle disputes and provide for the common
A long tradition of peace between the Pilgrims and the
Wampanoag Indians ended in 1675. That year, Metacomet,
the son of Massasoit, led an Indian war against the
colonies in New England. The colonists called Metacomet
King Philip, and the war became known as King Philip's
War. The Indians attacked because they feared that the
colonists would take all their land. Metacomet was killed
in 1676, and the war in southern New England then ended.
Fighting in northern New England continued until 1678. In
1686, King James II of England tried to reassert control
over the colonies by combining Plymouth and the rest of
New England, New York, and New Jersey into the Dominion
of New England. However, the dominion proved unpopular
and was disbanded in 1689. In 1691, Plymouth became part
of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
What about the Indians?
American. The people now known as Indians or Native
Americans were the firstpeople to live in the
Americas. They had been living there for thousands of
years before any Europeans arrived.
The area that
would later become the Thirteen Colonies was also home to
more than 500,000 Indians. The tribes in the north
included the Massachusett, Pequot, and Wampanoag. Among
the groups in the central part of the region were the
Delaware, the Susquehannock, and the nations of the
powerful Iroquois League--the Cayuga, Mohawk, Onondaga,
Oneida, and Seneca. Farther south lived the Catawba,
Cherokee, Creek, and other tribes.
The Indians of eastern North America generally lived in
villages near fields where they grew corn, squash, and
beans. They also hunted and fished, and gathered wild
plants, nuts, and berries.
contact. The tribes of the Eastern Woodlands were among
the first to meet European explorers and settlers. At
first, the two groups had friendly relations. Squanto, a
Patuxet, is said to have taught the white settlers how to
plant corn and fertilize it with dead fish. Massasoit of
the Wampanoag helped the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. In
1621, the Indians and Pilgrims joined in a Thanksgiving
ceremony to give thanks for a good harvest and peace. But
the friendly relations did not last, and warfare soon
became common. Most of the early fighting consisted of
small battles between settlers and Indians. Smallpox,
measles, and other European diseases killed many Indians.
Is it celebrated in other
are also Thanksgiving holidays celebrated every year in
Japan, South Korea, the
Philippines, Laos, Liberia, Puerto Rico, Guam, Grenada,
and the Virgin Islands."
Quoted From Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia