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A History of Thanksgiving

Sep 16th 2021

A History of Thanksgiving

Some folks put away their flags and bunting after Labor Day, thinking that the season to display them is over until the following summer. However, the fact is, they are a wonderful addition to any winter holiday celebration. In light of that, let’s take a look back in our nation’s history to how Thanksgiving first began.

1621: a Year of Travail and Triumph

The early history of the pilgrim colony at Plymouth is filled with dark tales of sickness and starvation. Lack of familiarity with the New World, combined with poor weather, sabotaged the settlers’ efforts at growing crops. Things began to look up in 1621, however, largely due to the help of Squanto, a Native American who lived with the Wampanoag tribe. He advised the new arrivals on how to grow corn and catch eel. The colonists were further helped by tribal chieftain Massasoit, who donated food to them when supplies brought over from Europe ran low.
All of this kind assistance, along with the pilgrims’ determination and hard work, led to a bountiful harvest in the fall of 1621. To give thanks for their good fortune, the colonists held a three-day celebration with the Native Americans who had assisted them. Firsthand accounts of this happy occasion survive to this day. One of the attendees, Edward Winslow, wrote:

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling (hunting expedition), that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”

An annual day of thanksgiving continued for several years after this, but it didn’t become a national holiday until President Lincoln declared it in 1863. He also established its observance on the last Thursday of November. Since then, it has been celebrated every year in the United States. Canadians took up the practice in 1957, observing it on the second Monday of each November. Like America, Canada celebrates the day with feasting, sports, and festive parades. In addition, many nations across the globe hold similar observances, in which people remember their blessings.

Make Independence Bunting Part of Your Thanksgiving

As you can see, this annual holiday is a perfect time to show your patriotism, by giving thanks for our great country and all of the blessings that we enjoy. We can help, by supplying you with decorative bunting and other materials. Everything we sell is made right here in the USA, of quality material and by skilled craftspeople who are dedicated to serving our customers.

If you don’t see exactly what you want on our site, remember that we can make custom flags and bunting, pull downs, and other items to meet your needs. See our main page for details. Also, on behalf of all our employees, we wish you and your family the best for a joyous and safe holiday season.