Nov 23, 2013

Thanksgiving Traditions Origin

The Pilgrim Thanksgiving that happened in the fall of 1621 is the most popular reference to the first Thanksgiving in the US. This is largely because of Sarah Josepha Hale, author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and one of the most influential women in American history.

She was particularly enamored with the Pilgrim event she had read about in a passage by William Bradford in 'Of Plymouth Plantation' as well as the particular Thanksgiving tradition which was somewhat common in New England at the time. She tirelessly campaigned for over 20 years to have Thanksgiving become a national holiday with a set date.

Through her highly circulated editorials, she was largely responsible for much of why we view the Pilgrim’s 1621 Thanksgiving how we do and was also largely responsible for many of the traditions we now tend to attribute to that Thanksgiving, even though there are actually only two brief passages that record what happened during the Thanksgiving celebration in 1621.

Things like the tradition of eating turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving were all popularized by her while it is unlikely that the Pilgrims ate any of those things.