Thanksgiving Traditions

Article date: November 21, 2019

by Kenzie Eck


 Thanksgiving has been an American holiday for 398 years. It took the Pilgrims 66 days, on the Mayflower, to get to the “New World”. The “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated after their first harvest, in October 1621. The feast, which lasted three days, had 90 Wampanoag Indians and 53 Pilgrims.

It is believed that only five women were present at the “First Thanksgiving”. I wonder who cooked the food? Venison, duck, goose, oysters, lobster, eel, and fish were the items on the menu for the “First Thanksgiving”; not turkey. Pumpkins and cranberries were there also, but not the beloved pumpkin pie or cranberry sauce.

Andi Welsh, first grade, said, “We don’t eat turkey for our Thanksgiving dinner. We eat the ham with green beans and mashed potatoes.” Americans, as a whole, eat 250 million pounds of potatoes and 46 million turkeys are eaten! The average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving is 4,500. That’s a lot of pie!

Abraham Lincoln officially made Thanksgiving a National holiday on October 3, 1863. Sarah Joseph Hale, the writer of “Mary Had A Little Lamb,” convinced Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a National holiday after writing letters for 17 years saying why she thought Thanksgiving should be a National holiday.

The Thanksgiving Day football game is a huge tradition, as well. This tradition started in 1876 with a football game against Yale and Princeton. It wasn’t until 1920 that the first NFL games were played on Thanksgiving. “I haven’t ever watched the football game, but I do hear about it,” said Mavrick Mitchek, fourth grade.

Do you travel anywhere for Thanksgiving? In 2018, over 54.3 million Americans traveled for Thanksgiving. Most Americans will travel over 50 miles away from their homes for Thanksgiving. Myriah McQuillan, second grade, said, “My family travels to my grandma and grandpa’s house that is outside of Salina.”

There are so many great things about Thanksgiving. The traditions that families have is what makes this National holiday so special. We hope that everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!