Meaning Behind Turkey-Day

Gavin Hogan, Staff Writer

Eric Pancer
Typical Thanksgiving Dinner.

Turkey-day, a special day celebrated by giving thanks and having a feast. A holiday that is celebrated in nine countries around the world. 

This holiday has a major effect on school districts who give students a week off and money is spent on food as well as traveling expenses. But how did Thanksgiving really come to be?

Thanksgiving is a tradition that started way back in the 1600s, it is a special holiday to many people because it is the coming together of friends and family for a big feast.

Thanksgiving is a tradition that started in October 1621, originally a harvest festival between the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoag Indians, this was acknowledged as one of the first Thanksgivings ever. This first Thanksgiving was celebrated after a group of 102 people moved from England to the New World on the Mayflower so they could practice religion, or even own land freely, these people were later known as the pilgrims. When they got to America most people stayed on the ship and did not move onto land since it was winter. By the time the first spring came around half of the pilgrims had died from disease, exposure, or outbreak. When they made the move onto land they were met by an Abenaki Indian who spoke English, he taught the pilgrims how to farm, fish, and gather food. This Indian also helped the pilgrims forge an alliance with the Wampanoag Indians. After the pilgrims first corn harvest was successful Governor William Bradford arranged a feast in which he invited different groups of native Americans including the chief of the Wampanoag tribe to a large celebratory feast, this was later known as the first thanksgiving.

After that, Thanksgiving was celebrated individually between different groups of people until 1863 when Abraham Lincoln announced that Thanksgiving Day would be celebrated every year in November. Thanksgiving celebrations vary from family to family. Some families have different traditions they do on Thanksgiving or special foods they eat. 

Erie High School students have shared a little bit about what their household looks like on Thanksgiving. Students have traditions from decorating for Christmas to playing football in the backyard. 

“Thanksgiving has a special meaning to my family as we all gather coming from all around the states to my Grandparents house and throw pies in each other’s faces.” Talia Catanzaro, a senior at Erie High School exclaimed. 

Thanks to Turkey-day families are able to gather around the dinner table, make traditions and memories.