The Thanksgiving holiday is a bit more than just turkey and pie, it’s a historical event that began with the settlers of the Plymouth Colony and their Wampanoag tribe predecessors in 1621.
According to history, the colonists and natives shared an autumn harvest feast, and for more than two centuries, days of “thanksgiving” were celebrated by individual colonies and states. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.
While the feast between the colonists and Wampanoag tribe was peaceful, it’s unfortunately, one of the only instances in American history. Native people were systematically killed by European settlers, effectively wiping out tribes and villages resulting in millions of deaths. Since 1970, protesters have gathered on the day designated as Thanksgiving at the top of Cole’s Hill, which overlooks Plymouth Rock, to commemorate a “National Day of Mourning.”
The Thanksgiving we celebrate today is a lot different than the first. While Americans should acknowledge the atrocities of the country’s colonizers, the focus has shifted to “what we’re grateful for” paired with watching football and getting the best deals for the following holiday.
The average person’s spending over the five-day Thanksgiving period is $325 and over $949 million is the estimated amount Americans spend on Thanksgiving turkeys each year, with 40 million turkeys killed for the holiday, according to WalletHub.
Check out more holiday numbers below and enjoy a safe Thanksgiving with loved ones.