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Thanksgiving: Where It Came From and What It Means Now

Thanksgiving is a mostly American holiday celebrated every fourth Thursday of November. It is thought to be a day to give thanks and spend time with close family and friends.

But how did Thanksgiving really get its start?

According to historians at the History Channel, the first Thanksgiving is believed to have taken place as a way for the Pilgrims to give thanks to the Native Americans for helping them cultivate and grow their own harvest of corn. The Pilgrims had lost around half of their original passengers due to starvation and disease and their health continued to deplete.

After settling in New England, the local Native Americans, namely those belonging to the Pawtuxet tribe, helped the struggling Pilgrims by teaching them to grow their own corn.

When the Pilgrims grew their first successful corn harvest they organized a feast to celebrate the Natives and thank them for their help. This peace was not long-lasting as a violent fight for land broke out 10 years later when more settlers came to New England.

We are taught in school that Thanksgiving was a celebration of peace between settlers and Natives. However, there is much violence and massacre associated with the events that are the impetus of the holiday we celebrate every year.

In today’s society Thanksgiving has taken on its own meaning as we don’t celebrate the relationship between settlers and Native Americans, we celebrate the relationships we have with friends and family.

Thanksgiving day typically consists of a family gathering, some sort of dinner (most commonly featuring a turkey), and watching football.

It has also become a part of Thanksgiving culture to throw a “friends-giving.” This consists of Thanksgiving festivities with your close friends before or around Thanksgiving day.

Senior Maddie Zingale says, ” I love throwing a “friends-giving,” with all of my friends. I am thankful for all of them and I think that warrants a celebration.”

Thanksgiving is a time-honored tradition and, regardless of how it got its start it has become a wonderful holiday to give thanks for what we have and celebrate our friends and family.

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