By: Shania Finney
Thanksgiving is near! Turkeys are being prepared, pumpkin pies are being made, and families from all over are joining together for a meal that will bring back memories. Looking back in time though, how did it all start? Is Thanksgiving what most people think it is today, or has it evolved into a different tradition than before?
It all started to make its way on September 6, 1620, when Plymouth, England colonists left England on the Mayflower ship. The colonists, also known as the Pilgrims, were looking for a new home, where they could peacefully practice their faith and religion. They were not just looking for a new home however, they were looking for what was known as the new world. After a long and harsh voyage, the 102 Pilgrim passengers found land in Massachusetts, signed the Mayflower Compact (America’s first document to introduce self-government) at Plymouth Rock, and began building shelters towards a new home.
Unfortunately, the Pilgrims were not prepared for the winter that came, and starvation and sickness appeared quickly. Luckily for them, a group of Wampanoag indians appeared and assisted the colonists. The indians taught them how to harvests, catch, and fend for themselves in time of food. The next summer, a great harvest was made and a three day feast was declared. So on December 13, 1621, Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag indians gathered together to share an autumn feast that was pronounced as thanksgiving.
In 1863, Lincoln declared thanksgiving to be the fourth thursday of every November as a way to express religion and a way to amend the lives lost during the Civil War. Now Thanksgiving has transformed itself from the religious ways, to the family time shared cooking and sharing a feast.