Thanksgiving: Then and Now Americans love Thanksgiving. Let's face it. They love eating, and they love football. But, where did this holiday come from? Actually, the tradition of Thanksgiving dates back to the time before our country's birth. Modern day Thanksgiving represents a time where Americans gather together with their friends and family. It is a time of year where people are thankful for being blessed with these friends and family. The first Thanksgiving was also a gathering where its participants gave their thanks for what they were fortunate enough to have. The Pilgrims are credited with organizing the first Thanksgiving after they arrived in America. It was a celebration of a bountiful harvest. Both the early and modern Thanksgiving centered around a feast consisting of a variety of foods. There are few other similarities to discuss aside from these. Overall, there is a sharp contrast between the first Thanksgiving held nearly 400 years and the Thanksgiving that Americans now celebrate in modern times.
The Pilgrims were a group who fled England in late 1620 because of increasing religious persecution. It took them approximately sixty-five days by sea aboard a ship called the Mayflower to arrive in an area of New England that is now known as Massachusetts. After a brutal winter, the Pilgrims became allies with a Native American tribe. One Native American who was especially critical was named Squanto. Squanto taught the Pilgrims several survival skills. Before long, the Pilgrims were able to obtain their food from nature, mainly by planting and maintaining crops. As autumn rolled around, the Pilgrims found themselves with quite a bountiful harvest. As a result, Governor William Bradford declared a day of thanksgiving in October 1621. The Pilgrims invited their Native American neighbors to the festival. The celebration actually endured for three days.