How do you celebrate Thanksgiving Day? How much do you remember about the history surrounding the Thanksgiving Day holiday?

As we approach one of my favorite holidays and as I prepared to write this article for Thanksgiving week, I reviewed some of the Thanksgiving facts that we all learned while in school.  Most I remembered correctly, and I did learn some new information while reading articles on the History Channel’s website (Much of the trivia information and facts for this article were confirmed through this website.)

The first Thanksgiving Feast was held in 1621 with the Pilgrims and the Native Americans in attendance.  It was a three-day festival of eating, hunting, and entertaining as they were celebrating their first successful harvest. 

The meat they ate at that first feast was most likely not turkey, but seafood, shellfish, and deer.   Vegetables probably included onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots, and corn.  Fruits included berries, plums, and grapes.  While they probably had pumpkins, they did not have the butter and flour needed to make pumpkin pie.  They most likely did have cranberries with their meal, but it was not in sauce or relish form.  There were no potatoes-sweet nor white.

While there were occasional days of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving feasts for several years, it was not until 1777 when the Continental Congress issued a national day of Thanksgiving.  Then in 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation. 

In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared that the last Thursday in November be Thanksgiving Day.  It was in the 1920s that our country was introduced to Thanksgiving Day being associated with football, parades, and the kick-off to the Christmas shopping season. 

This year our celebrations, although missing some dear family members, will look like it has for many years.  My wife’s family will join us for an early lunch in our home on Thanksgiving Day.  We will enjoy lots of good company and great food.  The menu will be turkey, dressing, sweet potato casserole, potato salad, stuffed eggs, lima beans, macaroni and cheese, cranberry sauce, rolls, pecan pie, and coconut cake.  

On Thanksgiving Night, we plan to join my sister and her family at Mississippi State for the Egg Bowl.  Thanksgiving Day and football seem to go together, especially in north Mississippi.  We will enjoy more Thanksgiving themed food, time with family, and fun cheering on the Bulldogs.

As you prepare for your Thanksgiving activities, please remember to pause and show thanks for your family, your home, your food, and the many other blessings you may have this year.  

Happy Thanksgiving and Hail State!


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