When was the first Thanksgiving?
No one can be certain about the date of the first Thanksgiving celebration, but it occurred sometime during the autumn months of 1621.
When did it become a National Holiday?
It wasn't until 1863 that it became a National Holiday, when President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of each November to be a day of Thanksgiving.
When and why was it changed?
In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt changed it to the fourth Thursday of each November, due to the fact that sometimes, there is a fifth Thursday, and that would put Thanksgiving closer to Christmas.
Was turkey really on the menu?
The custom of eating turkey started with the first Thanksgiving dinner, which included wild turkeys. However, other types of meat were also featured, which is not well known.
What other foods were part of the original Thanksgiving dinner?
There was other fowl such as duck or goose, and venison or deer meat. The Pilgrims may also have eaten fish and seafood as well.
In no historic account of Thanksgiving is cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, or yams mentioned. Fresh berries were eaten, but it is unlikely that they were made into sauces since sugar was very limited if available at all. Pumpkins were eaten, even possibly made into custard, but there was no such thing as pie crust or whipped cream at the time. Sweet potatoes were not even known in New England, and as stated, sugar was not readily available. These items became popular later, and eventually became part of the Thanksgiving tradition.
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