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Table of Contents
It is a harvest festival observed by Americans and Canadians. Americans also trace the Thanksgiving holiday to a 1621 celebration at the Plimoth Plantation, where the settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. The Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth for three days after their first harvest in 1621.
See the fact file below for more information on the History of Thanksgiving or alternatively, you can download our 21-page History of Thanksgiving worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
ORIGINS OF THE HOLIDAY
- Although most kids learn about Thanksgiving with the start of Plymouth, the feasts actually predate that.
- The roots of the holiday can be traced back to ancient times when Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans feasted and paid tribute to the gods immediately following the fall harvest.
- Thanksgiving is also similar to the ancient Jewish harvest festival called “Sukkot”.
- Not only was the idea of a feast devoted to giving thanks an ancient concept, but Native Americans had their own feast and harvest traditions long before Europeans came over.
- The first documented Thanksgiving activities were in the 16th century and included expressing gratitude, sharing food, and giving away food.
- Decades prior to this, the Spanish shared salted pork, beans, and a Mass in Florida in 1565. Other celebrations likely occurred in pockets around the United States years prior to this.
- Settlers who arrived in Berkeley Hundred in Virginia in 1619 decided to celebrate their arrival with a large Thanksgiving celebration, although their meal was less glamorous than traditional meals you’d see today.
- In November 1621, William Bradford organized a celebratory feast after a successful corn harvest, and invited their Native American allies (the Wampanoag people) to dine with them – this festival lasted for three days – but with no dessert (apparently).
- The first “true” Thanksgiving that is recognized in the United States supposedly took place in 1623, but others argue that it was in 1637.
- Regardless of its origins, Thanksgiving is a day with many misconceptions about not only its origins, but also our understanding of the holiday itself.
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THANKSGIVING
- Thanksgiving was a time when Native Americans and white European settlers put aside their differences, sat down together, and enjoyed a nice meal.
- The main meal at Thanksgiving consists of turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie.
- Thanksgiving was first celebrated by the Pilgrims at Plymouth in Eastern United States.
- The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag people had good relations and were always pleasant with one another.
- Thanksgiving was a harvest feast celebrated by Pilgrims, and shared by the Wampanoag Indians of the area.
- Typical fare included duck, fish, venison, shellfish, vegetables, and beer; not likely any dessert.
- Ceremonies of thanks have been ongoing for centuries, beginning with ancient civilizations (Egyptians, Greeks, Romans), as well as with the Spanish in 1565 (in Florida).
- The two groups had a long history of violence, conflict, and lots of death and protest.
- During the Revolutionary War, Thanksgiving still occurred; a proclamation was given by congress in 1777. It took place in York, Pennsylvania (its temporary location at the time).
- Several “national days of prayer, humiliation, and thanksgiving” took place in the United States as it was coming into its own.
- George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1789 (pictured to the right) states that it is the duty of all nations to be grateful for God and all that he provides, as well as pray for protection and guidance.
- He declared that Thanksgiving Day be celebrated on November 26.
- Even during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that Thanksgiving be celebrated on the 26th of November.
- Artist Alfred Waud illustrated a sketch of Thanksgiving during the U.S Civil War in 1861 (seen below).
- Thanksgiving celebrations varied from region to region in the United States, with some regions holding raffles and prizes, some taking part in shooting games, and some playing competitive sports games with
- On December 26, 1941, President Roosevelt signed a bill declaring that Thanksgiving would officially be observed on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
History of Thanksgiving Worksheets
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about History of Thanksgiving across 21 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use History of Thanksgiving worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the History of Thanksgiving, harvest festival observed by the Pilgrims at Plymouth. Americans also trace the Thanksgiving holiday to a 1621 celebration at the Plimoth Plantation, where the settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. The Pilgrims celebrated at Plymouth for three days after their first harvest in 1621.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Thanksgiving Timeline
- Historical Vocabulary
- Thanksgiving Wordsearch
- Thanksgiving Menu: Then & Now
- Unscrambling Activity
- Quote Analysis
- Opinion Piece
- Thanksgiving Crossword
- Comparing Thanksgiving
- Our Five Senses
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Link will appear as History of Thanksgiving Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, October 28, 2018
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.