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Thanksgiving Traditions

For most people, Thanksgiving is a time to visit family, show gratitude, and eat some turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie. The majority of the population knows that Thanksgiving began with the pilgrims and Native Americans, but since then, how have its traditions changed? There have been a lot of changes to the holiday including the menu and the amount of time this special day lasts. 

According to, the first Thanksgiving took place in 1621. Most of the food served then has definitely changed over time. The pilgrims and Wampanoag enjoyed a wide variety of food including waterfowl (aquatic birds, including ducks and geese), ham, lobster, berries, pumpkins, squash, turkey, and more. Today, a traditional Thanksgiving dinner might consist of a roast turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, rolls, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Almost none of the original menu items have stayed. In fact, the turkey is just about the only remaining item. However, turkey is considered to be a classic part of a Thanksgiving meal.

As seen in an article from, for three whole days the Native Americans and pilgrims feasted. How has this three-day celebration gone down to one day? In 1789, George Washington proclaimed that Thanksgiving would be celebrated on November 26th. Then, in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln marked Thanksgiving as the last Thursday of November. The next change was in 1939, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt changed it to the third Thursday in the month of November. Finally, in 1941, Roosevelt and Congress concluded that Thanksgiving would be recognized as a United States Federal holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, as it remains today.

Despite the fact that a three-day feast might have been nice, the changes have made the wonderful thanksgiving that we all know and love today.


By: Alessy Madero

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