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NATIONAL FEAST The Continental Congress proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving in 1777.

Florida, Texas, Maine and Virginia each declare itself the site of the First Thanksgiving and historical documents support the various claims.From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child.Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations.In the footnotes that accompanied Winslow’s letter, Young writes, “This was the first Thanksgiving, the harvest festival of New England.On this occasion they no doubt feasted on the wild turkey as well as venison.” PURITAN HOLIDAY The American Thanksgiving also has its origin in the faith practices of Puritan New England, where strict Calvinist doctrine sanctioned only the Sabbath, fast days and thanksgivings as religious holidays or “holy days.” To the Puritans, a true “thanksgiving” was a day of prayer and pious humiliation, thanking God for His special Providence.

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