By Dear Fran

Thanksgiving is a unique American holiday which falls on the 4th Thursday in November.  This year we celebrate on November 26th. Family members and friends gather at a dinner table and share a massive meal including roast turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, pies, etc. It’s a fun harvest season tradition whose origin dates back to when this relatively young country first started.

The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621. The year before, the Pilgrim’s first winter was very harsh and almost half of the colonists perished. But with a peace treaty signed between Pilgrims and the Wampanoag (a Native American tribe), the Wampanoag shared their agricultural knowledge with the Pilgrims so their harvest was considerably improved. The second harvest thus became a reason to rejoice together — to celebrate a bountiful harvest as well as peace and friendship between the two groups. Though there’s no record of a turkey in the historical accounts of this feast, the bird was more likely to be first introduced to the Pilgrims by the Native Americans since it was readily available and large enough to feed a big crowd. New Englanders continued the tradition of celebrating the harvest each year, and in 1777, the Continental Congress declared it to be the first national Thanksgiving Day.

Thanksgiving is about celebrating family, friendship, perseverance, faith and most importantly, gratitude. It’s an opportunity to take time out of our daily hectic lives, to think about all our blessings, and be thankful!