"It has been an unchallengeable American doctrine that cranberry sauce, a pink goo with overtones of sugared tomatoes, is a delectable necessity of the Thanksgiving board and that turkey is uneatable without it..." Alistair Cooke
We all enjoy Thanksgiving Day and the following weekend. And while we have celebrated Thanksgiving Day all our lives, did you know...
The first American day of Thanksgiving was celebrated November 30, 1619, by 30 Englishmen aboard the ship Margaret that touched land at what will become Hampton, Virginia.
New England's Pilgrims celebrate their first Thanksgiving Day in 1621. After the first harvest was completed, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving and prayer, shared by all the colonists and neighboring Native Americans. The colonists entertain 92 Indian guests including Chief Massasoit at a Thanksgiving dinner-breakfast. The meal includes wild turkeys shot by the colonists and popcorn which is introduced to the Pilgrims by the Chief's brother.
In 1623 a day of fasting and prayer during a period of drought was changed to one of Thanksgiving because the rain came during the prayers. Gradually the custom prevailed in New England of annually celebrating Thanksgiving after the harvest.
During the American Revolution a yearly day of national Thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress, with the first national Thanksgiving Day proclaimed by President Washington for November 26, 1789.
In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom, and by the middle of the 19th century many other states had done the same.
In 1863, President Lincoln proclaims national Thanksgiving Day as October 3 and sets aside the last Thursday of November to commemorate the feast given by the Pilgrims in 1621 for their Wampanoag benefactors.
President Lincoln acted partly in response to a plea from Godey's Lady's Book editor Sarah Josepha Hale, who had campaigned since 1846 for Thanksgiving Day observances and by 1852 had persuaded people to celebrate Thanksgiving on the same day in 30 of the 32 states, in U.S. consulates abroad, and on U.S. ships in foreign waters.
In 1879, Canadians observe their first Thanksgiving Day November 6; the day will be observed on a Monday in October beginning in 1931. In 1957 it became a statutory holiday in Canada, celebrated on the second Monday in October.
The first U.S. automobile race takes place Thanksgiving Day, in 1895, on a 53.5-mile course between Chicago and Milwaukee. Herman Kohlsaat's Chicago Times-Herald has offered a $2,000 first prize, some 80 contestants enter, only six are able to start, average speed over the snowy roads is 5.25 miles per hour, and the winner is James Franklin Duryea, driving the only American-made gasoline-powered entry.
The first Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, in 1924, moves 2 miles from Central Park West down Broadway to Herald Square, beginning an annual promotion event designed to boost Christmas sales.
In 1939, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated November 23 the fourth Thursday in the month rather than the last. Federated Department Stores chief Fred Lazarus, Jr., has persuaded President Roosevelt that a longer Christmas shopping season will help the economy, the president has issued a proclamation, and within a few years most states will pass laws making November's fourth Thursday Thanksgiving Day. In 1941 Congress decreed that Thanksgiving should fall on the fourth Thursday of November.
In 1967, Some 2.7 million Americans receive food stamp assistance as of Thanksgiving. Thirty years later that number had grown to 23.3 million - last year it was up to 38 million - this year...
--- Regards, Walt Schmidt