Thanksgiving traditions change throughout the years

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Thanksgiving traditions change throughout the years

Kylee B. '21, Writer

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At one time or another, everyone learns about the “First Thanksgiving” celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621, however that was almost 400 years ago, and traditions celebrated on Thanksgiving have changed drastically. From the pilgrim feast to football and Black Friday shopping, it is evident Thanksgiving has not been the same since its origin.

Thanksgiving was first celebrated by the pilgrims, and the original feast lasted three whole days. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official holiday. Ever since then, Thanksgiving has been nationally celebrated and known as a day of giving thanks and reflecting on the positive events in one’s life, according to

Thanksgiving was traditionally celebrated with family; however in the modern era people do not exclusively celebrate with relatives, but with close friends, as well. The traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of a main dish of turkey and side dishes of puddings and soups. Nevertheless, families in 2018 eat all sorts of food, and handfuls even go out to dinner instead of staying in to cook.

“The night before Thanksgiving, we go out to a Mexican restaurant and get food as a pregame before the actual Thanksgiving meal,” Daniel K. ‘21 said.

Nowadays, people will get up early to watch the Macy’s Day Parade and cheer on their favorite NFL or college football team. The first Macy’s Day Parade was in 1916, and 250 thousand people attended it in New York City. Watching football on the other hand was still a popular activity on the list of Thanksgiving traditions; however it was broadcasted on the radio not television. The first NFL Thanksgiving game did not happen until 1934, according to

“Traditions have changed drastically since I was a kid. My family was very poor so we did not really have the money to create many traditions. Our traditions consisted of anything we could afford that year,” Roy Ealey the grandfather of Mackenzie B. ‘19 and Reagan B. ‘21 said.

Instead of hanging out by the fire or cleaning the dishes after eating, thousands will tackle the challenge of Black Friday shopping. They will spend hours fighting crowds for the best deals, and will not return home until the sun has come up again. Despite the wild popularity Black Friday’s creation was unintentional. People would use the day after Thanksgiving to ‘play hooky’ from work, which in turn gave them a head start on their holiday shopping. The name “Black Friday” was not coined until 1966 when a man from the Philadelphia Police Department used the term to describe the bad traffic and other mysteries brought on by the masses of people, according to The New York Times.

“My family celebrates a mix of the more traditional Thanksgiving and modern day Thanksgiving. We go up to my grandparents’ house and celebrate with my entire family. We eat mashed potatoes, stuffing and turkey, and after we are stuffed we rest up and head out for a night of Black Friday shopping,” Mackenzie B. ‘19 said.

Regardless of the changing traditions, one aspect remains the same when celebrating this holiday: gratitude. However one’s family chooses to spend this holiday the tradition of being grateful never leaves the Thanksgiving table.