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The Origins of Thanksgiving and Its Traditions In America

Thanksgiving is my all time favorite holiday of the year. With food, family, friends and football – how could you lose! Thanksgiving can be traced back to the 16th century when the first Thanksgiving dinner is believed to have taken place.

The Pilgrims reached Plymouth rock on December 11th 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days. Though the original destination was somewhere in the northern part of Virginia, they could not reach the place due to winds blowing them off course. Nearly 46 pilgrims died due to extreme cold in winter. In the spring of 1621, Squanto, a native Indian taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food.

It is believed that Pilgrims learned to grow corn, beans and pumpkins from the Indians, which helped all of them survive . In the autumn of 1621, they held the first Thanksgiving, where 90 people were invited including Indians. The grand feast was organized to thank god for his favors.

There is no evidence to prove if turkey was a part of the first Thanksgiving but according  to the first hand account written by the leader of the colony, the food included, ducks, geese, venison, fish, berries etc.

Times may have changed, but Thanksgiving and it’s traditions remain.

Today Americans celebrate Thanksgiving with:

Turkey and all The Trimmings – What would thanksgiving be without the turkey, right? It wouldn’t be much of one. From the first Thanksgiving, turkey has become apart of the traditional American Thanksgiving Day feast. While some countries eat other things such as ham, according to the National Turkey Federation, 95% of Americans still eat turkey on thanksgiving.

Parades -  The first American Thanksgiving Day parade was held back in 1920. It was organized by a store in Philadelphia; not Macy’s as many people believe. The famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade did not actually begin until about 1924. At least 46 million Americans watch it faithfully every year (in person or on the television) and it has become one of the biggest parades in the country with balloons, bands, and a wide array of floats.

Football – Another big part of the Thanksgiving Day festivities and traditions is the number of different football games on television. Football has become one of the biggest parts of the Thanksgiving traditions in America; as much so as the pumpkin pie and turkey. The first intercollegiate championship game was held in 1876 on Thanksgiving Day. Go Cowboys!

The Wishbone – This may not be a tradition in your house, but in mine, it’s serious business! I found that a lot of us love breaking the wishbone and have made it a tradition in their Thanksgiving festivities too. It’s good luck if you get the good side of the bone. This tradition dates back as far as 322 B.C. when the Romans conquered England. The English colonists carried the tradition with them to America.

Giving Thanks – Last but not least is the tradition of giving thanks to God for the people and blessings in your life and throughout the past year. This holiday is a celebration of thankful hearts.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family from all of us at 101.5 KNUE.

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