In the United States, the modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. The thanksgiving observance at Plymouth was prompted by a good harvest. Initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed the colonists, but the Wampanoag Native Americans helped the settlers by providing seeds and teaching them to fish.
- The First Thanksgiving
Nearly four hundred years ago, a great many of the people in England were very unhappy because their king would not let them pray to God as they liked.
- Thanksgiving at Plymouth
In September 1620, a small ship called the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, carrying 102 passengers—an assortment of religious separatists seeking a new home where they could freely practice their faith and other individuals lured by the promise of prosperity and land ownership in the New World.
- History of Thanksgiving Celebrations
Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest with thanksgiving ceremonies.
- George Washington's Thanksgiving Proclaimation [New York, 3 October 1789]
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor--
- Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclaimation [Washington, DC—October 3, 1863]
The year that is drawing toward its close has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies...
- How Indian Corn Came Into The World [An Ojibbeway Legend]
Long, long ago, in a beautiful part of this country, there lived an Indian with his wife and children. He was poor and found it hard to provide food enough for his family. But though needy he was kind and contented, and always gave thanks to the Great Spirit for everything that he received. His eldest son, Wunzh, was likewise kind and gentle and thankful of heart, and he longed greatly to do something for his people.
- A Thanksgiving Dinner That Flew Away
"Honk!" I spun around like a top, looking nervously in every direction. I was familiar with that sound - I had heard it before, during two summer vacations, at the old farm-house on the Cape. It had been a terror to me. I always put a door, a fence, or a stone wall between me and that sound as speedily as possible.