What Really Happened On Thanksgiving? The Dark History of Thanksgiving

What Really Happened On Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving Day is an annual national holiday observed in the United States and Canada to commemorate the harvest and other blessings of the previous year. Americans generally believe that Thanksgiving is based on a harvest feast shared by English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people in 1621. 

by A Maria Minolini | Updated Nov 25, 2022

What Really Happened On Thanksgiving? The Dark History of Thanksgiving
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What Is Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday observed in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Liberia on various dates. It began as a day of Thanksgiving for the harvest and the previous year's blessings. (During the autumn, similar harvest festival holidays are observed worldwide, including in Germany and Japan.) Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada, the fourth Thursday of November in the United States, and other times of the year. Despite its historical roots in religious and cultural traditions, Thanksgiving has long been celebrated as a secular holiday.

The Thanksgiving meal traditionally consists of turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie, and it is particularly rich in legend and symbolism. As family members gather with one another, the holiday season is often the busiest of the year for vehicular travel. Thanksgiving will be observed on November 24, 2022.

What Really Happened On Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving is traditionally a time for family and food in the United States. American students are taught that the tradition dates back to the Pilgrims, who helped establish Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts in 1620. According to legend, friendly Native Americans taught the struggling colonists how to survive in the New World. Then, in 1621, everyone got together to celebrate with a feast. The 401st anniversary of the "first" American Thanksgiving will be celebrated in 2022. However, Thanksgiving feasts predate Plymouth, and the peace celebrated that day was shaky. The true story behind the holiday is so dark that some people are reconsidering how or whether they should celebrate it at all.

Details About The Dark History Of Thanksgiving

According to National Geographic, settlers in Berkeley Hundred, in what is now Virginia, celebrated their arrival with a Thanksgiving as early as 1619. However, according to The Washingtonian, the meal was probably nothing more than oysters and ham. According to the National Parks Service, in 1565, Spanish settlers and members of the Seloy tribe broke bread in Florida with salted pork, garbanzo beans, and a Mass. Our modern definition of Thanksgiving revolves around eating turkey, but this was more of a religious observance in previous centuries. The Pilgrims would almost certainly regard their solemn 1623 day of prayer as the first actual Thanksgiving.

Overview About Thanksgiving

Observed by Countries

  • Canada

  • Germany

  • Grenada

  • Liberia

  • Saint Lucia

  • United States

Sub-national entities

  • Leiden (Netherlands)

  • Norfolk Island (Australia)

  • Territories of the United States

  • Territories of Canada

Type National, cultural
  • 1st Sunday in October (Germany)

  • 2nd Monday in October (Canada)

  • 1st Thursday in November (Liberia)

  • Last Wednesday in November (Norfolk Island)

  • 4th Thursday in November (U.S. and Brazil)

2022 date October 10, 2022 (Canada);

November 3, 2022 (Liberia);

November 30, 2022 (Norfolk Island);

November 24, 2022 (U.S. and Brazil)

2023 date October 9, 2023 (Canada);

November 2, 2023 (Liberia);

November 29, 2023 (Norfolk Island);

November 23, 2023 (U.S. and Brazil)

Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. All information on the Site is provided in good faith, however we make no representation or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the Site.

What Really Happened On Thanksgiving - FAQs

1. What is Thanksgiving? 

Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated on various dates in the United States, Canada, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Liberia.

2. How did it start? 

It began as a day of giving thanks for the blessings of the harvest and of the preceding year. 

3. When is Thanksgiving celebrated? 

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and around the same part of the year in other places.

4. When thanksgiving is celebrated? 

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated on Thursday, November 24, 2022.

5. What shall be doen on that day? 

 The American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism, and the traditional fare of the Thanksgiving meal typically includes turkey, bread stuffing, potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pie. With respect to vehicular travel, the holiday is often the busiest of the year, as family members gather with one another.

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