Thanksgiving Traditions

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We all, modern day humans, each celebrate Thanksgiving in a different way. We each have our own traditions we do with our family on Thanksgiving, we all have certain activities we do at certain times, like writing down what we’re thankful for, right before the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Our traditions are significantly different from the first feasts before us, but a couple traditions remain, like the tradition of spending times with family and enjoying wonderful food. It was argued about by many historians, but many can identify the first Thanksgiving celebration, as in September 1620, where the Pilgrims shared a meal with the Indians in that area.

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It was September 1620, when the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 106 passengers, with hopes of prosperity in the New World. Only half of the passengers would make it to their first New England spring, the other died of things like disease. The half-crew was greeted by an English-speaking Abenaki Indian, who later brought an Indian named Squanto, who taught them about the surrounding wilderness around them, and showed them how to raise crops, fish, and avoid the dangerous plants in the area. When the Pilgrims’ first corn harvest turned out successful, they held a festival which lasted three days, they invited the native Indians in the area, who, with the help of Squanto, they forged an alliance with. This meal would be recorded in history as The First Thanksgiving, although other civilizations much earlier than this one would also have a celebration of thanks.

The general Thanksgiving tradition has changed over the years. In the Pilgrim or Ancient times, Thanksgiving, or their giving thanks festivals, had a bit more meaning than it has now. For starters, it had a bit more religious significance, and by a bit I mean that they saw this kind of celebration as a way to celebrate their gods, some fasting up to the event, and eating on it as a way of celebrating the gods. To others, such as the Pilgrims, it was to celebrate their harvest of corn, and maybe, just maybe, surviving to even be there, celebrating the harvest, instead of being on a small, cold, hungry boat.

Our Thanksgiving, however, holds less religious significance than it may have back then. For us now, the general Thanksgiving belief is revolved mainly around family and celebrating an elaborate feast. Turkey has become a symbol for Thanksgiving itself and is widely known tradition to eat it on the Thanksgiving day, and 90% of Americans eat it on this day. This turkey usually comes with it’s gravy, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, and mashed potatoes. Even though we may not honor the gods on Thanksgiving, or celebrate our corn harvests like our ancestors, Thanksgiving is a time many spend and honor with their families. We especially honor the idea of thankfulness and celebrate it each year.

Works Cited:

  1. Bold, Cambria. 10 Thanksgiving Traditions We’re Stealing from Our Readers. Kitchn, Apartment Therapy, LLC., 16 Nov. 2018,
  2. Editors. Thanksgiving 2018., A&E Television Networks, 27 Oct. 2009,
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Thanksgiving Traditions. (2019, Mar 29). Retrieved November 30, 2022 , from

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