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November 28, 2017
by Anna Veltri , Emmetsburg News

Even though Thanksgiving has officially passed, I think it's important to recognize and remember the significance of the holiday. In the United States, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

The first Thanksgiving is dated back to a celebration in Plymouth in 1621, though another record shows that the first U.S. Thanksgiving was actually in 1619 in Virginia. As Puritans and Pilgrims continued to immigrate to the United States, the holiday continued to be celebrated. Other Thanksgivings have been documented as early as 1607 while Jamestown celebrated their first Thanksgiving in 1610.

The 1621 celebration was held after the "first harvest" in the New World. The celebration is documented as lasting for three days. According to history, 53 Pilgrims attended the festival with 90 Native Americans. Colonists had been celebrating similar events in England. These celebrations were spent as days of prayer thanking God for blessing such as military victory of the end of a difficult planting season.

The Pilgrims were also documented as holding a Thanksgiving in 1623 following days of fasting and a 14-day rain. This Thanksgiving was dated to be held on Wednesday, July 30, 1623, only a day before a ship arrived with new colonists.

According to, "In the United States, certain kinds of food are traditionally served at Thanksgiving meals. Turkey, usually roasted and stuffed (but sometimes deep-fried instead), is typically the featured item on any Thanksgiving feast table, so much so that Thanksgiving is colloquially known as "Turkey Day." In fact, 45 million turkeys were consumed on Thanksgiving Day alone in 2015. With 85 percent of Americans partaking in the meal, that's an estimated 276 million Americans dining on the festive poultry, spending an expected $1.05 billion on turkeys for Thanksgiving in 2016."

Foods other than turkey are also popular dishes in the United States, "Mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, various fall vegetables, squash, brussels sprouts and pumpkin pie are commonly associated with Thanksgiving dinner. Green bean casserole was introduced in 1955 and remains a favorite. All of these are actually native to the Americas or were introduced as a new food source to the Europeans when they arrived. Turkey may be an exception. In his book Mayflower, Nathaniel Philbrick suggests that the Pilgrims might already have been familiar with turkey in England, even though the bird is native to the Americas. The Spaniards had brought domesticated turkeys back from Central America in the early 17th century, and the birds soon became popular fare all over Europe, including England, where turkey (as an alternative to the traditional goose) became a 'fixture at English Christmases'. The Pilgrims did not observe Christmas"

Because of the delicious foods available on Thanksgiving Day, Americans eat more on this day than any other day of the year.

Thanksgiving is also a day to be thankful. As a tradition, many families gather around the table and say what they're thankful for before beginning their meal. This year, I am thankful for a wonderful community, supportive parents and in-laws, a wonderful husband, my two dogs, and for great friends. Source:



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