The United States celebrates the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving – Le Courrier des Amériques


It is certainly one of the most important anniversaries, if not the most important, in the history of the United States, the Thanksgiving Anniversary, which took place in the fall of 1621. The country evidently did not exist at the time, and it was a year before the British colonists disembarked from the Mayflower to establish the Plymouth Colony in New England (not too far from the present city of Boston) by seizing it. Indian village (whose inhabitants died of the disease). Half of the settlers died in the first winter. They were here to live their religion freely, and when the winter began, just a few days after their arrival, they found themselves in utter poverty.

In the spring, after several weeks of observing these “pilgrims” from a distance, a local Abekani sachem (chief) named Samoset noticed that they were quite weak … but that they could be useful. Samoset then returns alone and, with a quick step towards the center of the settlement village, launches them in English “Welcome Englishmen” and asks them if they have beer! Indeed, the Plymouth pilgrims were not the first Europeans to pass through (1).

The “Indians” (time period) form a useful alliance with Christians: they teach them agriculture and local breeding in exchange for a military alliance against enemy tribes. In a few skirmishes, they “pacify” the region and try to grow what they can. The fall of 1621 was therefore the time of the colony’s first ever harvests, thus ensuring survival during the second American winter. At the end of the work, they called a big party in Plymouth. There were fifty settlers and ninety natives came with their great chief Massassoit. It was the British colonists who cooked for their hosts, and the feast lasted three days. In those days, a perfect American civilization was born, which, as everyone knows, will unfortunately not last too long, but even today it can be a beautiful sign of hope for the future! In the history of the Plymouth Pilgrims, the power of the Thanksgiving symbol is also added to the Mayflower Pact: a few days before landing in America aboard the ship, they drafted the first democratic constitution to govern their future community. The future marked the future of the country in several ways.

Shortly afterwards, Edward Winslow spoke of the incident: When our harvest came, our governor sent four men to hunt so that we could rejoice in a special way together after we had reaped the fruits of our labor. Four killed so many poultry in one day that, with a little help, they were able to serve each one for almost a week. At this time, among other recreations, we practiced with weapons, many Indians came among us, and among them their greatest king, Massasoit, with about ninety men, whom we received and feasted with them for three days; and they went out and killed the five deer, which we brought to the plantation and handed over to our governor, the captain and them. And even though he is not always as abundant with us as he was then, we are so far from the need of God’s goodness that we often wish you (and you, ed. Note) to participate in our abundance.“.

Abundance… yes, except that they had to accept another meal as a gift from the great chief Massassoït in order to spend the winter!

“Thanksgiving,” which is gratitude to God, clearly does not come from America. And Thanksgiving was celebrated there before this, for example in the last century by the French or Spaniards in their colonies in Florida. But after Plymouth, the celebration continued. It first became an official holiday for the “continents” in December 1777 by a decree of a revolutionary leader named … George Washington. After Washington became president of the new country, he continued the tradition, as did his successors. Later, an official ceremony will be created to introduce the turkey to the President of the United States. But in 1963, oh, surprise, President John Kennedy said he would not eat it. And it was on this basis that George HW Bush added a second tradition in 1989, the tradition of the “forgiven turkey”: one of them will be released each year at the behest of the president.

In addition to family meals in Turkey and a television parade hosted by Macy’s “department store” in New York, Thanksgiving has also always been a charitable moment for the poor in the United States.

Protests by indigenous tribes also took place at various times, questioning the value of the celebration.

In the United States, Thanksgiving is always held on the fourth Thursday in November, while in Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated earlier: the second Monday in October.

Patoxet / Plymouth Museum Website:

– This Year of Thanksgiving will be Thursday, November 25, 2021.

– Thanksgiving is always immediately followed by commercial holidays Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday

– 1 – Here is our article explaining why this meeting was a historical event:

Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday: this is how it works in the United States

Black Friday, Cyber ​​Monday: this is how it works in the United States


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