The first winter was very tough and unforgiving for the pilgrims; in fact, about half of them lost their lives from the cold weather and disease. In the spring the pilgrims’ were greeted by a Native American, named Squanto, who taught them how to farm and live off the land.
By November of 1621 the pilgrims’ first corn harvest proved successful, so they decided to celebrate and repay the Native Americans who helped them with a big feast. This became known as the First Thanksgiving.
A “day of thanksgiving” would be celebrated on various dates throughout the year, depending on where you lived. It was not until 1863, when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed that there should be a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November.
It has been an annual American tradition ever since.