The warmth and joy of Thanksgiving stem from generations of families gathering each November to enjoy good food, laughs, and companionship as the temperatures begin to get a little chillier. You might have a delicious turkey, your Thanksgiving flowers from Casas Adobes, and a house full of friends and family.
Did you know that Thanksgiving, as we celebrate it today, is very different from the first experience of the Pilgrims and Native Americans? To get you into the holiday spirit, here are some neat facts about the history of Thanksgiving in America.
What was the First Thanksgiving Like?
The first Thanksgiving occurred in the fall of 1621 when colonists in Plymouth shared a meal with the local Wampanoag people, but the event wasn’t just a single dinner. The gathering actually lasted three days and was meant to celebrate the first successful harvest by the Pilgrims.
Although we associate Thanksgiving with a giant turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, the first Thanksgiving probably featured deer that were brought as gifts by the Wampanoag, and no one knows if turkey was part of the meal. Resources were quite scarce, and the Pilgrims didn’t have ovens, so pumpkin pie was definitely not served.
The Journey to an Official Holiday
The second Thanksgiving occurred in 1623 after a tough drought, but the governor called for a religious fast as part of the observance. Over the next two hundred years, American leaders issued various proclamations to continue to observance, but it wouldn’t become a national holiday until 1863 with a proclamation by Abraham Lincoln.
By writing letters and publishing articles, famous writer Sarah Josepha Hale worked for 36 years in a campaign to get a holiday nationally recognized. Before Lincoln created the official holiday, many states celebrated Thanksgiving but did so on different dates throughout the autumn.
Our Modern Thanksgiving
The Thanksgiving we celebrate today is quite different than the occasion observed hundreds of years ago, and most families don’t associate the holiday with religion as did the Mayflower Pilgrims.
Other modern additions to the holiday that came about during the 20th century include parades, which began in New York City in 1924 when Macy’s arranged for the event. Modern Thanksgiving also features football and television, and many government leaders around the country also pardon turkeys.
This Thanksgiving, create a beautiful table for your guests with a gorgeous centerpiece of sunflowers, lilies, and orange spray roses, and don’t forget to bring matches to light the tapers. Your Thanksgiving flowers will help you enjoy the beautiful autumn colors of orange, red, and yellow while you celebrate with family.