How To Explain The Meaning Of Thanksgiving To Your Toddler

How To Explain The Meaning Of Thanksgiving To Your Toddler

In the middle of March I wrote a super successful post about the history and origin of St. Patrick’s day. I wanted to research it because honestly I didn’t know anything about it. Yet I was dressing Morgan in green head to toe! That post ended up launching a series of posts after I received multiple comments to create a post for each holiday. I will have to explain each holiday to Morgan anyway. What a better way than to actually learn the facts behind them. You can read all of my past posts below:

  1. St. Patrick’s Day
  2. Easter
  3. Mother’s Day
  4. Memorial Day
  5. Father’s Day
  6. Fourth of July
  7. Labor Day
  8. Halloween

I learn so much from doing these posts, and I find that I really enjoy researching and writing them. Today I will be sharing with you How To Explain The Meaning Of Thanksgiving To Your Toddler. Let’s learn together why we celebrate this holiday, and more importantly why we eat pumpkin pie. 

As always I would like to thank my wonderful friend Google. Google was able to steer me in so many fascinating directions while researching this history. Prior to my research I had no idea what the name of the tribe was that the colonists celebrated the first Thanksgiving with, nor was I aware of why we celebrate on the third Thursday in November. Little did I know that the economy and stimulating spending was the hidden reason. I hope you truly learn as much as I did.

  1. In October 1621, the Plymouth Massachusetts colonists and the Wampanoag Indians celebrated the autumn harvest together. They had a large feast with the abundance that the harvest produced. This was acknowledged as the first Thanksgiving Day celebration in the colonies. 
  2. Wampanoag means “Easterners.” The Wampanoag Indians were natives of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. They were the first people to welcome and befriend the colonists in Plymouth Rock.
  3. Thursday is the day of the week that we celebrate Thanksgiving. The selection of Thursday dates back to George Washington.
  4. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln established that Thanksgiving was to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. However, there was concern over the shortened Christmas shopping seasons impact on the economic recovery (after the Great Depression). Therefore, in 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the third Thursday in November.
  5. Because Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday and businesses are open the following day people became inclined to take the day off to go shopping. Today we refer to this day as Black Friday. However, the term Black Friday was not popularized until 1966 when an article appeared in The American Philatelist (a stamp collectors’ magazine) where The Philadelphia Police Department used the term Black Friday to describe traffic jams and crowding in department stores.
  6. Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday, celebrations are common in Canada, the United States, the Caribbean islands, and Liberia. You might be asking yourself why would Liberia celebrate Thanksgiving? I wondered the same thing. Here is the reason that I found: Liberia (in West Africa) is the only African state founded by African-American immigrants (freed-slaves). They wove many American traditions into their country’s origin. Thanksgiving in Liberia is recognized on the national level.
  7. The original Thanksgiving that the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians celebrated featured some food that today is not traditionally part of our meals. They feasted on waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash.
  8. Although turkey was most likely present at the first Thanksgiving, it wasn’t until much later that turkey became known as the Thanksgiving Bird. After years of the history being retold it was written down that wild turkeys were abundant during the harvest of 1621, since turkey is indigenous to American, it gained headway as the Thanksgiving meal of choice for Americans.
  9. Although, Pumpkin’s were available to the colonists, the colonists did not turn them into pie’s. In fact, what they ate did not even resemble pie. The colonist stewed their pumpkins and filled the hollow shells with milk, honey and spices, therefore the pie that we know today started out as more of a soup or a custard during the first feast.

I feel much better knowing the history and origin of one of my favorite food holidays. I hope you enjoyed learning about How To Explain The Meaning Of Thanksgiving To Your Toddler. It really is an important, rich and interesting history. 

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your families!!! Thank you so much for reading!!!

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