When Was the First Thanksgiving Day?

first-thanksgiving-day Credit: KAdams66/iStock/Getty Images

The origins of the traditional Thanksgiving narrative of pilgrims and Native Americans meeting for a meal in Plymouth Colony can be traced back to the fall of 1621. However, It is difficult to pinpoint an exact date for the first Thanksgiving celebration, because the way Thanksgiving is celebrated in contemporary America differs so dramatically from the way it was celebrated during and prior to the nation's early history.

Technically, Thanksgiving wasn't really celebrated until the 19th century, when the fall gathering for a large dinner of season dishes gained popularity. In response to popular public request, Abraham Lincoln declared the first national Thanksgiving in November of 1863.