In modern society, Thanksgiving is a holiday that Americans celebrate with a feast in order to acknowledge the things that they are thankful for. Before this national holiday came into existence, other cultures and people had celebrated the harvest season with feasts. The Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the “First Thanksgiving” with each other, whereas the Puritans celebrated Thanksgiving with their families in order to give their thanks to God. These two celebrations eventually influenced and led up to America’s celebration of Thanksgiving.
America’s first national Thanksgiving did not occur until 1777, when the Continental Congress announced the holiday to celebrate victory in the Battle of Saratoga. In addition, Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt both announced dates for Thanksgiving, but it still was not a holiday. In 1941, it became an annual holiday when Congress declared that Thanksgiving would occur every fourth Thursday of November.
The food eaten during the feast differs depending on the culture of people celebrating it. Some people fuse their own cultures and American culture to celebrate the feast. The traditional foods that are used today for Thanksgiving such as mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie, corn on the cob and cranberries were not present at the “First Thanksgiving.” The ways to celebrate this annual holiday may differ, but all of the celebrations share the common goal of recognizing the thankful things in life.