Thanksgiving Traditions to Learn About
Here, you will learn a little about some Thanksgiving traditions and the historical background behind them.
Thanksgiving has almost become a forgotten holiday; however, it is a very important day in American history.
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Thanksgiving is a time of fellowship. It is a time to give thanks for the many ways your life has been blessed and for the opportunities you have. Thanksgiving is a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate.
When thinking of Thanksgiving traditions, it is important to understand the history of the holiday. Thanksgiving Day officially became an American holiday during the term of President Abraham Lincoln. In 1863, President Lincoln designated the fourth Thursday of November to be a day of thanks.
The tradition, however, goes back to the autumn of 1621. One of the first history lessons taught in American schools is the story of the pilgrims and Native Americans sitting down to the first Thanksgiving dinner together. It was not until June 20, 1676 that another day of thanks was declared by the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts.
In 1777 (one hundred years later), the thirteen colonies celebrated the next Thanksgiving dinner. In 1789, George Washington proclaimed a highly controversial and disputed day of Thanksgiving. Therefore, it was not until the official designation by President Lincoln that we began celebrating a day of thanks.
Today, traditional Thanksgiving dinners include items believed to have been served at the first Thanksgiving dinner of 1621. These items include turkey, corn, plums, berries, fish, lobster, and pumpkin. It was widely believed that without the assistance of the Native Americans, the first colonists would not have survived the harsh new lands; therefore, the Native Americans were included in the three day celebration dinner. Today, the traditional dinner includes turkey, cranberry sauce, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, and pumpkin pie.
Other Thanksgiving traditions include the many decorations found during the season. Many people will use fruits and vegetables to create a cornucopia centerpiece for their Thanksgiving table. The beautiful fall colors can help you create a breathtaking centerpiece.
For example, place a large paper doily in the center of your table. Arrange fall leaves on the doily (you can use real leaves or purchase silk or cloth leaves at your local craft store - or you can buy fall colored cloth and cut out your own fall leaves). In the center of the leaves, place a small mum purchased at your local nursery.
Many schools hold Thanksgiving celebrations where children dress up as pilgrims or Native Americans and hold a "feast" in their classrooms. These "feasts" usually include candy corn and other treats available at Thanksgiving. They also include crafts and history lessons for the children in the classroom.
You can go beyond the Thanksgiving traditions of old and establish your own family Thanksgiving traditions. Establish your own family feast menu or decorating style. Plan activities and games for your family and make these a yearly occurrence.
Thanksgiving traditions are not limited to the same turkey and pumpkin pie of old. The important thing to remember is that Thanksgiving is a time of celebration, fellowship and family.
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