It’s that time of year when we give thanks for a good harvest. Then we stuff ourselves with that harvest - turkey, stuffing, gravy, rolls, corn, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans, pumpkin pie, and more! This tradition - which originally featured items such as lobster and swan - comes from the Plymouth Pilgrims’ celebration of the first successful harvest, achieved with the help of the Wampanoag tribe in 1621. The 50-year alliance between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians “tragically remains one of the sole examples of harmony between European Colonists and Native Americans.”
Though Thanksgiving was held almost every year in Plymouth, as well as in other settlements, it did not officially become a holiday “until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War” when “President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.” Since that time, the Thanksgiving tradition has continued to grow, and today we look forward to not only an annual feast, but also some of the best holiday parades in the country.
There’s no doubt that New York City’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is the largest in America, with millions turning out to enjoy it in person and tuning in to watch it at home. But while the Macy’s parade may have earned the reputation of being the biggest, it is not the oldest Thanksgiving Day procession. That distinction belongs to Philadelphia, which began hosting what is now the 6abc Dunkin' Donuts Thanksgiving Day Parade in 1920, four years before New York. Both parades travel through beautiful areas of the cities; Central Park, in New York City, and the Philadelphia Art Museum area in Philadelphia.
While these are all fantastic events, if you’re looking for a parade that is both fun and educational, look no further than America’s Hometown Thanksgiving Parade in Plymouth, which celebrates the settlers and the Wampanoag with a weekend full of historical activities set in chronological order from the 17th to the 21st century.
Want to celebrate closer to home? Join us on Tuesday, November 21 at the Burlington County Library for our very own Thanksgiving Parade! The fun begins at 10:30am when children parade through the library holding special balloons before making a craft and enjoying a visit from Santa. Happy Thanksgiving!