Every year on the fourth Thursday in November, millions of Americans nationwide gather for a Thanksgiving Day filled with family and feasting. Dishes such as roasted turkey and gravy, stuffing, candied yams, corn, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pecan pie are shared amongst family and friends who come from far and wide to get together around the table to give thanks and indulge in this traditional annual meal.
At our Beach House, we love getting into the Thanksgiving spirit. We offer our American guests (or anyone who wants to partake in this wonderful tradition!) an irresistible buffet of Thanksgiving classics at our oceanfront restaurant Veranda. We think it is the perfect occasion to gather our loved ones to enjoy a traditional meal in an unforgettable setting.
In light of Turkey Day, here are some fun facts about its origins and history.
1621: The First Thanksgiving. Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrate a harvest feast (known as the first “Thanksgiving”) in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
While turkey is today the bird of choice for Thanksgiving dinners across the United States, this was not always the case: according to History.com, for the first ever Thanksgiving in 1621 the Native Americans killed five deer as a gift for the colonists, meaning venison would most likely have been the dish of the day.
1789: According to the US National Archives, on September 28, 1789 the first Federal Congress passed a resolution asking that the president of the United States recommend to the nation a day of thanksgiving. A few days later, George Washington issued a proclamation naming Thursday, November 26, 1789 as a “Day of Publick Thanksgivin” – the first time Thanksgiving was celebrated under the new Constitution.
The dates of Thanksgiving celebrations varied as subsequent presidents came and went, and it wasn’t until Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Proclamation – in the midst of the Civil War – that Thanksgiving was regularly commemorated each year on the last Thursday of November.
1939: The US National Archives says that in 1939, with the last Thursday in November falling on the last day of the month, Franklin D Roosevelt became concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen economic recovery. He therefore issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November.
Some 32 states consequently issued similar proclamations, but 16 states refused to accept the change. As a result, for two years two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving.
To end the confusion, on 6 October 1941 Congress set a fixed date for the holiday: it passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November to be the legal Thanksgiving Day.
Fun football fact: Each Thanksgiving, millions of Americans tune in to watch the Detroit Lions play American Football. This tradition dates to 1934, when the team took on the undefeated, defending World Champion Chicago Bears of George Halas. Despite losing the inaugural game, since then the Lions have played football every Thanksgiving except between 1939 and 1944.