Unlike some holidays such as New Year’s Eve and Fourth of July when people traditionally go out somewhere to celebrate, Thanksgiving is most commonly celebrated at home, with family and friends. This is one of the things I like best about Thanksgiving–I get to share wonderful traditions with those closest to me.
These Thanksgiving traditions and trivia include well-known traditions and little-known trivia about the Thanksgiving Day holiday. They are presented to enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of Thanksgiving. Consider sharing these ideas, stories, and trivia with your friends and family during the Thanksgiving holiday.
In the United States, Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. But did you know that seven other nations also celebrate an official Thanksgiving Day? Those nations are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia, and Switzerland.
History of Thanksgiving in America
According to most historians, the pilgrims never observed an annual Thanksgiving feast in autumn. In the year 1621, they did celebrate a feast near Plymouth, Massachusetts, following their first harvest. But this feast most people refer to as the first Thanksgiving was never repeated.
Oddly enough, most devoutly religious pilgrims observed a day of thanksgiving with prayer and fasting, not feasting. Yet even though this harvest feast was never called Thanksgiving by the pilgrims of 1621, it has become the model for the traditional Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States.
• 1541 – Spanish explorer, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, led a thanksgiving celebration at the Palo Duro Canyon, West Texas.
• 1565 – Pedro Menendez de Aviles and 800 settlers gathered for a meal with the Timucuan Indians in the Spanish colony of St. Augustine, Florida.
• 1621 – Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated a harvest feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
• 1630 – Settlers observed the first Thanksgiving of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England on July 8, 1630.
• 1777 – George Washington and his army on the way to Valley Forge, stopped in blistering weather in open fields to observe the first Thanksgiving of the new United States of America.
• 1789 – President Washington declared November 26, 1789, as a national day of “thanksgiving and prayer.”
• 1800s – The annual presidential thanksgiving proclamations ceased for 45 years in the early 1800s.
• 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations in 1863. Since this date, Thanksgiving has been observed annually in the United States.
• 1941 – President Roosevelt established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.