What’s with Thanksgiving?

Adreon Patterson
2 min readNov 21, 2023

When most people think of Thanksgiving, visions of turkey, stuffing, and football pop into their heads. In the U.S., we gather with family and friends with fun and food on our minds. However, there’s a long and complicated history behind this annual gathering.

Most American citizens believed the first Thanksgiving happened in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621. However, that wasn’t the first feast of thanks. The first actual Turkey Day was reportedly celebrated in either 1541 in Palo Duro Canyon or 1598 in San Elizario, located in Texas (then Spanish territory) by conquistadors, long before English settlers reached American shores.

The first official Thanksgiving for English settlers happened in 1607 at Fort St. George, New York, or in 1621 at Plymouth. The 1621 feast came after a brutal 1620 winter (losing half the settlement) and a fruitful harvest in 1621. The second feast came together in 1623 after a harsh but bountiful harvest. However, the first acknowledgment of the celebration didn’t happen until December 18, 1777, when President George Washington made a proclamation.

Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, several colonies adopted the gratitude feast as an unofficial holiday, with varying dates in states. At one point, most Northeastern states celebrated the gathering in December. The day wasn’t declared an official holiday until October 3, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln. The declaration also moved the celebration from December to the last Thursday in November.

Now, the holiday not only provides food and football for those who celebrate but also the love and comfort from loved ones during the holiday season.

Originally published at http://adreonpatterson.net on November 21, 2023.

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Adreon Patterson

A multi-faceted creator trying to change the world one word at a time. Check out more at https://adreonpatterson.net