Thanksgiving fun facts, Thanksgiving day history, first Thanksgiving in the Americas... we'll cover those items and more on this page. Thanksgiving has become an important holiday in America and American history. Presidents have issued Thanksgiving proclamations and retailers have made the Thanksgiving holiday a major part of their holiday shopping season advertising (think "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday").
Let's look back at the first Thanksgiving and learn some Thanksgiving fun facts and some brief Thanksgiving history. You may be surprised to hear that there is some dispute about when the first Thanksgiving in the Americas actually occurred. While the Thanksgiving feast at Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts in 1621 is often referred to as the first Thanksgiving, there are actually reports of earlier celebrations, including some in Virginia in the early 1600's and even as early as the 1500's..
The Plymouth Thanksgiving feast is the most well known celebration. It came about after a hard winter and then a successful harvest by the Pilgrims. They had landed at Plymouth Rock in December of 1620, and had very little time to prepare for the harsh winter. Nearly half of the Pilgrims died that year. After their successful harvest, the Pilgrims decided to have a three-day feast, starting on December 13, 1621. They celebrated with ninety Wampanoag Indians who had helped them throughout their first year. Their Thanksgiving feast included shellfish, lobsters, turkey, corn bread, berries, deer, and other foods.
"God be praised, we had a good increase of corn";
"by the goodness of God, we are far from want"
- Pilgrim Edward Winslow.
The first national Thanksgiving in America occurred in 1789. The first act after the framers finished the Bill of Rights was this resolution...
"Resolved, That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a Day of Public Thanksgiving and Prayer. . . ."
That resolution was delivered to President George Washington, and he issued the first federal "Thanksgiving Proclamation", designating "A Day of Publick Thanksgiving and Prayer" on November 26, 1789. This proclamation was given to give thanks for the new constitution and offer prayers for the government and country.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began celebrating Thanksgiving on the 4th Thursday of each November
"It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor." - George Washington
Here is a fun, interactive site about the Pilgrims Thanksgiving where you can learn more Thanksgiving fun facts - The First Thanksgiving.
Danielle, a student at Lexington Middle School in Massachusetts, suggested another site that you might enjoy visiting. Click to visit The Gift of Thanks - The First Thanksgiving - I'll bet you'll enjoy it! Thank you for suggesting it Danielle!
If you have enjoyed Thanksgiving Fun Facts, you might enjoy reading about other American holidays here.
Here are some fun printable games from Python Printable Games that you might enjoy playing with your family this Thanksgiving. Something for everybody - kids and adults, and you can learn some more Thanksgiving fun facts!