Madison Aker – Mustangs Ahead

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- Each year, every fourth Thursday of November families gather around their flat screen televisions watching football and feasting. Over the course of 400 years, Thanksgiving has dramatically changed from what it once was.

There are only two eyewitness accounts that historians describing the first Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was not just one big sit-down. In fact, Thanksgiving lasted just under a week with dinners inside and outdoors.

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The Pilgrims could not have survived without the help of the Native Americans. Therefore, they invited the Wampanoag people and their leader, King Massasoit.  The nearest village of natives traveled for two days to attend this feast, carrying gifts and food they brought for the Pilgrims.

However, the feast was not a giant, stuffed turkey. Instead, venison was the name of the game. Deer took over the menu. Although, fowl, fish, wild turkeys, geese, and ducks were also part of the feast.

The Pilgrims and Wampanoag’s friendship didn’t last long, only a decade. The modern-day Thanksgiving didn’t roll around until the 19th Century, after President Abraham Lincoln declared two national Thanksgivings in 1863 – one in August to commemorate the Battle of Gettysburg and again in November to give thanks for “general blessings.”

Lincoln proclaimed, in the midst of the civil war, every fourth Thursday in November in a national Thanksgiving holiday.

Today’s modern Thanksgiving features over 90 percent of Americans eating turkey. Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday. The New York Thanksgiving Day parade, presented by the Macy’s Department, is the largest and most famous parade, attracting two to three million people on a 2.5-mile route. Not only is it watched in person, but at home with a huge television audience.

Thanksgiving is Thursday, Nov. 23, so gather around the table this year enjoy the modern traditions and appreciate how Thanksgiving came to be.

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