What many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving took place in December 1621 as the religious separatist Pilgrims held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest.
The day did not become a national holiday until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving, President Franklin Roosevelt later declared that Thanksgiving Day always be celebrated on the fourth Thursday of the month to encourage earlier holiday shopping.
While the turkey is generally served as the main dish for a Thanksgiving dinner, goose, and duck, and ham, are now sometimes served in place of the Thanksgiving turkey. Some other alternative recipes for a Thanksgiving dinner include the Chinese recipe for goose that could be used on the similarly-sized American bird. Vegetarians or vegan's usually have tofurkey, a tofu-based dish.
"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twenty minutes. Football Half-times take twenty minutes. This is not coincidence." - by Erma Bombeck
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