How Has Thanksgiving Changed Over the Years?

Rachna Pandit

Photo Credit: photo via Claudette Gallant under the creative commons license

What gets you most excited about Thanksgiving? Is it Thanksgiving dinner? Yet, Thanksgiving wasn’t always about food. Back in 1621, the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians, who were the first to celebrate Thanksgiving, were more focused on praying and spending time with their family.

Today, Thanksgiving is a national holiday and is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. During the original Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims held a large feast to celebrate the harvest and blessings of the past year. Thanksgiving began with colonists going out to hunt for turkey. However, once that failed, they didn’t mind settling for something easier to hunt, such as geese or ducks. The Wampanoag made a surprise appearance and contributed to this event by bringing fish, eels, stews, shellfish, vegetables, and beer. The Plymouth only had a few buildings, therefore people would eat outside with a plate of food on their lap. The men fired guns, ran races and drank. The supper was  a great way to spend time with one another and appreciate all the hard work that was put into the harvest. Furthermore, they would pray to god for another successful year and more blessings. 

Compared to the 1600s, a typical thanksgiving meal now consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce and biscuits. Everyone gathers around a big table to eat and spend time together. However, when this holiday comes across someone’s mind, no one discusses the important of appreciating their hard work and prayers. It’s mainly known for food, but when Thanksgiving first started it was really about thanking God for their progress. This isn’t the same anymore. Modern Thanksgiving is mainly just about family, friends, football and food. The first Thanksgiving revolved around harvesting and celebrating the diligent year. These are just the main parts of Thanksgiving that have changed over the years. What do you look forward to this thanksgiving? Is it your family spending time together? Is it the food?  Click on this link to let us know