Thanksgiving Traditions In The Past

Created on Nov 28, 2019 by Kathy Pinna
You've probably spent your whole life with the same traditions on Thanksgiving: Family and friends gathering for turkey, dressing (or stuffing), mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and (insert your family favorite). Then there are the desserts - pumpkin pie, sweet potato pie, berry pie, cakes, cheesecake . . . Are you getting hungry? All of this is in the spirit of the first Thanksgiving - friends and family coming together to celebrate, and give thanks for, the bounty in their lives. Technology may change, the way we prepare may change, but the essence remains the same. Do you recognize any of these traditions? (A bonus: there is a tradition at the end that you probably don't know about and that is not part of today's Thanksgiving!)

The history of Thanksgiving: The first Thanksgiving was celebrated in November of 1621 when the Wampanoag tribe and the Pilgrims came together for a harvest celebration. The feast, which lasted 3 days, included waterfowl, venison, fish, lobster, clams, berries, fruit, pumpkin, and squash. According to reports, there were 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims who attended. In 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a federal holiday of "Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens" and made it the last Thursday of November. In 1941, FDR proclaimed the 4th Thursday of November as Thanksgiving Day - to give citizens more time to shop for Christmas - and this has been the official day ever since.

Thanksgiving Traditions In The Past

Hunting, just like his forefathers

The convenience of a fresh turkey - the legs are handy for hauling?

Sometimes the whole family . . .

Got their guns and went out to hunt?

Did you buy your turkey outside at a tobacco auction?

1939 in Durham, North Carolina

Or did you go out into the woods, brave person?

1912 - almost 300 years after the first Thanksgiving.

Or perhaps you went to the market?

This is 1919 - but it's kinda like today's farmer's market . . .

Then there was your local butcher shop . . .

November 1940: Easier, less time involved, and just around the corner.

But Presidents always get special delivery

The White House, 1921. This was delivery of a turkey for Warren G. Harding.

Plucking the turkey

SO happy most of us don't have to do this any more!

Boy, that stove brings back memories!

That's a 20 lb turkey in a wood stove. Now aren't you thankful for your modern kitchen?

Family arriving

During WWII, some warriors came home for Thanksgiving. That must have been so special.

1940 - long and skinny bird

No oversized breasts here! Even turkeys today look different.

Coming out of the kitchen

1960 - you can just smell this turkey with a color photo!

Moments in Time

View all
Back to Top