How Thanksgiving Became a Holiday
In September 1620, a ship called the Mayflower left England. The Mayflower sailed across the Atlantic carrying 102 pilgrims, everyone hoping to find a new land. After 66 uncomfortable days of sailing, the pilgrims found a new land!
The pilgrims thought they were the ones who discovered the land, but really the new land was all ready owned by indians in a tribe called the Wampanoag tribe. An indian named Squanto taught the pilgrims how to survive. He taught them how to catch fish and grow crops. The leader of the Wampanoag tribe gave the pilgrims food for the harsh winter ahead.
After their first harvest, the pilgrims and the Wampanoags celebrated for three days strait, in Plymouth, in 1621. When you think of Thanksgiving you usually think of turkey and pumpkin pie, right? They did not have turkey, they had roast goose, they did have pumpkins, but no pumpkin pie. They had lots of corn, lobster, and cod fish.
Much later, the governor of each colonies would declare every year on Thanksgiving a good harvest, victory over battles, and great rain fall. In 1777, the continental congress said that all of the 13 colonies would celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday for victory over the British.
In the 19th century a lot of states celebrated Thanksgiving, but not all of them. When people did celebrate the date could vary by weeks, sometimes even months. Sarah Hail, a magazine editor thought Thanksgiving should be celebrated every where in America. She also thought it could bring more people together.
Abraham Lincoln said yes to Sarah, he said that Thanksgiving would be a national holiday also that it would be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. In 1939, during the great depression Franklin D. Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving day up one week in attempt for retail prices. After the great depression, in 1941 Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving back to the fourth Thursday in November.