We, as adults, are aware of what Thanksgiving has come to mean in the American culture, but kids are new, and can sometimes have a hard time understanding the significance behind Thanksgiving. Here are a few fun facts to help them understand the wonderful holiday, and to hopefully offer their own ‘thanks’ around the table this Thursday.
The Pilgrims and the Native American tribe the Wampanoag, were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving, but it was nothing like what we see today on the fourth Thursday of every November. In 1621 the first settlers were celebrating their first successful harvest: the celebration lasted three whole days and consisted of hunting, eating, and other forms of entertainment. You’ll be surprised to know that turkey was not on the menu!
How it became a staple in American culture:
Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of the popular ‘Mary had a Little Lamb” nursery rhyme is credited with being the godmother of Thanksgiving: uniting the nation in a communal celebration of thanks. Previously it had been celebrated by each individual state at different times of the year, some as early as October, others as late as January! She raged an nearly 30 year campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, and published recipes that became staples in the American kitchen: Turkey, pumpkin pie, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and cranberry salad.
Today Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November thanks to a legislation passed in 1941. We’re all familiar with the presidential pardoning of a turkey or two, but did you know that the pardoning that cemented the tradition took place in 1989, during the presidency of George Bush, Senior? It’s a fairly young tradition, but Abraham Lincoln is credited with the first presidential pardon for a turkey when his son Tod asked that the turkey, destined to become a part of their Thanksgiving day feast, be allowed to live.
Give thanks, and have fun being with the one’s you love this Thanksgiving Holiday! From the MMS family to yours, with love.