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Page history last edited by Cheryl Madden 10 years, 7 months ago
Today we will learn about Thanksgiving
in order to explain its history and traditions.


Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated in the United States on the fourth Thursday in November.  On Thanksgiving Day, people give thanks for what they have and for the good things that happened during the year.  A similar holiday is celebrated in Canada.


Families in the United States gather together on Thanksgiving Day for big dinners.  A Thanksgiving dinner usually includes roast turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, and pumpkin pie.  Thanksgiving is also a time for church services and prayer.


For hundreds of years, people in many parts of the world have had harvest festivals.  These festivals were held to give thanks for good crops that year.  In early New England, Thanksgiving Day was a kind of harvest festival.


The first Thanksgiving in New England took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1621.  The Plymouth colonists, or settlers, had been in America for less than a year.  During the first terrible winter, about half the colonists died.  But summer brought a good corn crop.  So Governor William Bradford arranged a harvest festival. 


The festival lasted three days.  The men hunted ducks, geese, and turkeys.  The women prepared meals on outdoor fires.  About 90 American Indians also attended the festival.  They brought five deer for the feast.  Everyone ate outdoors at large tables.


The Thanksgiving tradition spread over the years.  But the country had no regular national Thanksgiving Day.  Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor, worked to advance the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day.  In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving.  Presidents made a similar declaration each year afterward.  Congress established Thanksgiving Day as a legal national holiday beginning in 1941.









Today we will read a nonfiction story

in order to explain the origins of

the Macy's Thanksgiving parade balloons.








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