A Time To Give Thanks


Grace Wesselhoft, Staff Writer

“Sally, Thanksgiving is a very important holiday. Ours was the first country in the world to make a national holiday to give thanks,” says Charlie Brown, from A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. 

“I love being with family and reminiscing about fun and funny times,” shares Mrs. Cara Starzyk, an EHS teacher. “Mashed potatoes are my favorite food, so they are always part of the menu!” But, the holiday weekend holds other traditions, as well. “The girls in my family get up early on Black Friday and go shopping,” she adds, crossing her fingers in hopes of finding good deals on all of her Christmas gifts.

As Thanksgiving comes around the corner, many other people will also be setting the tables and finding their turkeys. However, most tend to forget why Thanksgiving began in the first place. 

In 1621, the Mayflower set off from England to the new America, carrying people of all kinds who were looking for a place to start their new lives. The journey over the ocean, to the new land, lasted around 66 days. When they finally arrived, they found themselves in the Massachusetts Bay ready to settle. They then began building villages and called it the name of Plymouth. During the building of the village, when the houses were half built and nothing was fully finished, a very harsh winter came upon them, causing them to put a pause on the current construction. Since they didn’t have houses yet, many of them had to stay on the ship until the winter was over.

Unfortunately, this caused people to be crammed together for a long period of time. This led to the spreading of many deadly diseases, including scurvy and pneumonia. Many people were also freezing and starving due to lack of food and warmth. When the winter finally concluded, many of the passengers had died, leaving around only half of the original number of passengers still alive. When they started to rebuild their houses again in the spring, a Native American Indian greeted them and took them by surprise. Squanto, the Native American Indian knew English well and helped them start their new colony. He taught them how to grow food, build stable houses, and prepare for the seasons.

Squanto’s helping the Pilgrims led to a bond between the two groups, and they worked together to help each other. When it was time for their food to harvest, the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag tribe, decided to have a gigantic feast to celebrate. It lasted a total of three days and was said to have contained an abundance of food–possibly including a lot of seafood and other veggies that they had grown that spring. This was their idea of how to give thanks to everything and everyone who had helped them survive, including God.

This new celebration continued on even till 1789, when George Washington made a final proclamation. Following this, many states took it upon themselves to bring Thanksgiving to the calendars by making it an official holiday for being grateful and giving thanks. 

In general, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to all that is to be grateful for. Some people celebrate through food, while others celebrate through activities. Either way, this is a time for family, friends, foods, and giving thanks for joyous memories.