As we approach the festive season, here at Greycoat Lumleys we began to discuss Thanksgiving. It is a well-known Holiday in the United States celebrated by many with friends and family, however despite the name being known, we know very little about it here.
So why is it every year our State-side friends gather together, eat turkey and pie and say thanks for what they have?
It all began in 1621 when a ship carrying British migrants arrived on American soil. These Pilgrims, as they were know, at first struggled to survive the harsh winter they experienced. To their luck, the American Indian Chief of the Wampanoag Tribe came to their rescue and taught them how to cultivate corn and tap sap from trees. The following year, to celebrate their first successful harvest the Pilgrims prepared a celebratory feast to give thanks to the Wampanoag tribe for their help.
Feasts to give thanks were not uncommon in the United States and many occurred around the harvest season for nearly two centuries without having a common day. It was in 1817 the first official Thanks Giving Holiday was announced in the State of New York.
Abraham Lincoln was the first to announce a country-wide Holiday in 1863, the height of the American Civil War, to give thanks for the loved ones lost in the conflict. Finally in 1939 Franklin D Roosevelt announced the official day of Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday of November, which is where it remains today.
So there you have it, despite Thanksgiving being traditionally known to date back to the Pilgrims, it was not a straightforward linear story. But whatever the history of Thanksgiving may be, we wish you all a very happy festive season.