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Thanksgiving Day 2009: Census Bureau National Holiday Facts and Features

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Pumpkins on a crate and on ground. Click for larger image.

Census Bureau photo

In the fall of 1621, the Pilgrims, early settlers of Plymouth Colony, held a three-day feast to celebrate a bountiful harvest, an event many regard as the nation’s first Thanksgiving. Historians have also recorded ceremonies of thanks among other groups of European settlers in North America, including British colonists in Virginia in 1619. The legacy of thanks and the feast have survived the centuries, as the event became a national holiday in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday of November as a national day of thanksgiving. (More Thanksgiving Day Facts and Figures)

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