A full week was given to the first Thanksgiving feast in New England in 1621. Governor Bradford sent men to hunt deer and turkey and to call Massasoit's tribe to the Pilgrim's table. Out of this harvest festival came the American institution of Thanksgiving Day. It is peculiar to our people. No other nation has a celebration exactly like it. It does not honor a victory, mark a revolution, or commemorate the birth or death of a national hero. It is the great holiday of the common people.
Thanksgiving is a national family celebration to thank God for the bounty wrought in liberty by our own labors. Many descendants of the Pilgrims still follow the custom, begun on that first Thanksgiving Day in Plymouth, of placing five grains of corn beside each plate at the dinner table. Five grains of corn was the daily ration during those desperate days before the harvest when food was scarcely to be had. At each subsequent annual feast, the Pilgrims placed the grains at the table so that the reason for their rejoicing might not be forgotten.Add a comment