From Pilgrims to Presidents
1 min read
How did Thanksgiving grow into the holiday tradition that we celebrate today?
Well, you know the story of how it all began. The year was 1621. Pilgrims and Native Americans gathered for a feast in Plymouth to celebrate the first successful corn harvest. The lesser known story in history, however, is what came after.
In 1789 President George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation by the national government of the United States. He called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the country’s success in the Revolutionary War and the ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
In 1817, New York became the first state of several to adopt an annual Thanksgiving celebration. The American South actually remained largely unaware of the tradition.
Sarah Josepha Hale, magazine editor & author of the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb," was inspired after reading a diary of Pilgrim life to push for the establishment of a Thanksgiving holiday in the United States. She campaigned for over 30 years, publishing editorials and appealing to governors, senators, and presidents alike.
Hale's campaign was finally answered during the height of the Civil War in 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln. He signed into law that the fourth Thursday of each November be the day for the national Thanksgiving holiday. It's been celebrated in the U.S. on that day every year since, aside from a few years during the Great Depression.
One hundred and fifty-four years later, we continue this tradition of giving thanks. We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday full of family, friends, and tasty food.