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The Origins of Thanksgiving

The Origins of Thanksgiving

The Thanksgiving holiday is a time when families gather to spend time with those they love. Getting home for the holidays can be difficult, however, as they brave planes, trains and automobiles to be with loved ones.

But how did Thanksgiving come to be such a big day?

Handprint turkeys, silver-buckled shoes and multi-colored corn shape most of our childhood memories about Thanksgiving. Elementary school students learn that the Pilgrims set sail in 1620 on the Mayflower from England to the New World to seek religious freedom. They landed at Plymouth Rock and encountered a Native American named Squanto, who taught them how to grow crops and showed them where to hunt. The respective groups shared a harvest feast in the fall of 1621 to celebrate their friendship, which serves as the basis of Thanksgiving.

This seems reasonable. After all, none of us were around in the 17th century to know what exactly happened, but that still doesn’t explain how we came to celebrate Thanksgiving each year.

Enter a woman named Sarah Josepha Hale. Born in New Hampshire in 1788 – less than 200 miles from Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts – Hale grew up celebrating Thanksgiving. Nicknamed the “Mother of Thanksgiving,” she lobbied for more than three decades to get it recognized as a national holiday to help unify the country during times of extreme tensions between the warring north and south. Eventually caving to her persistent letter-writing and editorials on the subject, on October 3, 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared that the fourth Thursday of every November would be Thanksgiving.

Fun fact: Hale wrote the popular nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb.”

Today, Thanksgiving is a day to gather with friends and family and reflect on all of the things for which we are thankful…and eat turkey, too.

Whether you bake, deep fry, or barbeque your bird, Mercury Insurance would like to remind you when prepping the meal to be sure not to leave anything in near an open flame unattended. The last thing anyone wants is an accidental fire to ruin their holiday. If you haven’t reviewed your policy lately, reach out to a friendly Mercury agent to ensure your home is properly insured and you’re taking advantage of all the discounts available. You may even find you could save a few hundred dollars – just in time for those Black Friday deals!

Enjoy this special time with your loved ones. Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving.


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Find Your Local Agent

If you are looking for information on specific insurance policies, visit our corporate website at MercuryInsurance.com