Why Is it Called Thanksgiving?

On the fourth Thursday of November, Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, a national holiday honoring the early settlers and their harvest feast known as the first Thanksgiving.

Why is this day called Thanksgiving? The website of the History of Massachusetts explains, “The feast celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621 was never actually called ‘Thanksgiving’ by the colonists. It was simply a harvest celebration. A few years later, in July of 1623, the pilgrims did hold what they called a ‘Thanksgiving.’ This was simply a religious day of prayer and fasting that had nothing to do with the fall harvest.”

Over the years, the names of the two events became intertwined and by the late 1600s many individual colonies and settlements, began holding “Thanksgiving feasts” during the autumn months.

Abraham Lincoln supported legislation making it a national holiday in 1863. America was in the middle of its bloody Civil War at the time and Lincoln hoped the new holiday would unify the bitterly divided country. The holiday was finally a success and Thanksgiving has continued ever since.

We at EverBright Learning wish you and your family a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.


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