Pennsylvania never had Pilgrims, but we did have leaders thankful at different points in the state’s history. Lots of competition abounds for the official first Thanksgiving holiday in PA.
Pittsburgh tells of a Thanksgiving feast on November 26, 1758 amidst the French and Indian War. The British troops paused to give thanks for their good fortunes against the French in battle. Read about that here.
However it is the city of York that holds claim to the birthplace of the Thanksgiving holiday. A plaque marks the spot the Second Continental Congress declared a Day of Thanks on November 1, 1777. More on that story from the York History Center.
Others say the very idea of eating a large meal in November actually came from the German speaking settlers into the state. They would gather for De Ern Karrich, or Harvest Church, after the final harvest from the fields. They have thanks to God and decorated with squash and corn. More on that tradition here.
Of course everyone knows President Lincoln established the official Thanksgiving holiday on our calendar today. After the battle of Gettysburg, he made November 26, 1863 a day of gratitude for the nation. The History Channel has details here.
It’s fun to think of PA having some of the first Thanksgivings and some of those traditions being passed on today. May we find ways to be thankful and grateful in 2020 and beyond.
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