The famous 'First thanksgiving feast' is said to have taken place in autumn, in the year 1621. The pilgrims organized the feast right after the first harvest. It was a gesture to thank God to help them survive the bitter winter. It was also celebrated as a display of gratitude towards Indians. The feast took place in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The traditional 'First feast' formed the basis for the modern 'Thanksgiving Day', celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November every year.
According to historians, the first thanksgiving feast was eaten
outside, as the colonists didn't have sufficient space to accommodate
everyone. Native Indians were invited to the feast as they were the ones
who taught pilgrims how to grow food. The feast was held to rejoice
their fruits of labour.
The feast is described in a firsthand account presumably written by a
leader of the colony, Edward Winslow. According to him, the governor had
sent four men to kill as many fowls. The feast was attended by 90 people
including Indians (Native Americans). The food included, ducks, turkeys,
geese, swan and venison, fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried
fruit, clams, and plums. The feast continued for three days. It was
accompanied by lots of dancing and merry-making.
The feast was not repeated for the next few years. The next
thanksgiving day was celebrated in the year 1676. The year witnessed a
severe drought, which was eventually followed by rains due to prayers.
George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789.
The idea attracted mixed reaction. After campaigning for nearly 80
years, in 1863, President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in
November as a national day of Thanksgiving.