Thanksgiving is undoubtedly one of the most highly-anticipated holidays of the year. Taking time off to be with family and friends and remembering what we’re grateful for is what Thanksgiving is all about. But there is so much more about Thanksgiving history that we don’t know. We’ve taken a look into the first Thanksgiving and how the holiday got started to give you more reason to celebrate Thanksgiving 2015. You'll get into the Spirit of Thanksgiving and know loads of facts to break the ice with family and friends.
A Brief Thanksgiving History Lesson
Did you know Thanksgiving wasn’t celebrated across the nation until 1863? In the 1840s Sara Josepha Hale, women’s magazine editor, began petitioning for the holiday to be declared nationwide. While the holiday was celebrated in New England, it wasn’t a special day anywhere else. Hale finally convinced Abraham Lincoln to declare the day Thanksgiving to give “peace, harmony, tranquility and union” after the tension of the Civil War.
At the time, wealthy families dined on French cuisine. Hale had more modern fare in mind and sought something between the expensive food of the Old World and the everyday food the common people could afford. She published recipes for turkey and pumpkin pie to popularize the “traditional” Thanksgiving food.
Turkey was a convenient choice. The bird was almost everywhere in North America, so any settler could find one to roast. Nowadays, turkeys are famously “pardoned” by the president in a hilarious tradition that’s taken place since 1947.
Turkeys were originally stuffed with other expensive meats, but a wheat bread or cornbread version came about for a less expensive option. Green bean casserole has been a Thanksgiving favorite since Campbell Soup Co. published a chic modern recipe for out-of-season green beans from a can or the freezer, enrobed in an instant sauce of cream of mushroom soup.
No doubt, you'll think differently of your Thanksgiving dinner when you remember its origins, but it doesn't make it any less tasty! Now we have all kinds of delicious variations on our Thanksgiving feast from pumpkin empanadas to rice stuffing. What’s your favorite Thanksgiving food?
Source credit: bostongloble
Gratitude is Good for You
One of the most important parts of Thanksgiving is sharing our gratitude and incredibly enough being thankful is good for you! Time Magazine wrote about numerous studies that have shown the health benefits of gratitude. One study announced that gratitude helps keep your heart healthy. A study of 186 men and women with heart damage, keeping a gratitude journal led to reduced cardiac risk.
Writing down what you’re thankful for can also help you get better sleep. A 2011 study showed that college students with racing minds were able to sleep better when they took 15 minutes to write about what they were grateful for. Being thankful also makes you more optimistic according to a 2003 study “Results suggest that a conscious focus on blessings may have emotional and interpersonal benefits.”
While it’s nice to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends, you can also use gratitude to make new friends.In a 2014 study for the journal Emotion, 70 college students were sent a note from a mentor either expressing gratitude or not and when the student received a note of thanks, they reported their mentor having a warmer personality.
According to Inc.com, feeling gratitude at work can increase productivity giving us a good reason to stay thankful after the holidays. Gratitude is healthy for your complete well-being. An analysis of almost 1,000 Swiss adults in the journal Personality and Individual differences, found that higher levels of thankfulness were correlated with better self-reported physical health.
We want to hear from you! What is your favorite part of Thanksgiving? Do you have any favorite traditions? Let us know in the comments below.
Most of all, have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!