Thanksgiving History


November, 1621: Plymouth Colony governor, William Bradford, arranges a three-day feast for the Pilgrims and their Native American allies.


1623: The second “Thanksgiving” is celebrated after the colonists at Plymouth were forced to fast in light of a particularly bad drought. The festival marked the end of the drought.


1789: George Washington issues the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national Government, imploring the nation to give thanks for the end of the War for Independence.


1827: Sarah Josepha Hale, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” begins an editorial and letter writing campaign to recognize Thanksgiving as a national holiday.


1863: Abraham Lincoln gives in to Hale’s pleas and establishes Thanksgiving as the final Thursday of every November.


1865: President Lincoln begins the tradition of pardoning a turkey from its traditional role of being killed and eaten during the Thanksgiving feast.


1973: The only year that the Plaza Lighting does not take place. This is a response to President Nixon’s recommendation not to use Christmas lights in order reduce dependence on foreign oil.


1975: Black Friday becomes widespread in the city in which it originated, Philadelphia.


2003: Black Friday becomes and retains its position as the busiest shopping day in the year.

By: Mitch Feyerherm