399th Thanksgiving Day fun facts

National
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In fall of 1621, the Pilgrims who were early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a 3-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest. Many regard this event as the nation’s first Thanksgiving.

The event became a national holiday on October 3rd, 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. The proclamation was the result of years of lobbying by “Mary Had a Little Lamb” author and abolitionist Sarah Josepha Hale.

Later, President Franklin Roosevelt clarified that Thanksgiving Day should always be celebrated on the fourth, not last, Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping. Sometimes the last Thursday of November is the fifth Thursday.

The Thanksgiving meal in Plymouth probably had little in common with today’s traditional holiday spread, according to the History Channel. First, there is no record of a roasted bird at the feast. The Wampanoag brought deer and there would have been lots of local seafood like mussels, lobster and bass. Also at the table would be the fruits of the first pilgrim harvest, including pumpkin. Unfortunately no mashed potatoes, though because potatoes had only been recently shipped back to Europe from South America.

Courtesy: U.S. Census Bureau

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