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A look at the history of Thanksgiving

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Albany/HV: A look at the history of Thanksgiving
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As we celebrate Thanksgiving, we are also taking a step back to take a little look at our Thanksgiving history. YNN's Vince Gallagher has more.

Thanksgiving, for many people, usually means three things: food, family, and football. But like many holidays, there is some historical significance, so we thought we thought we'd take a look back at our "Thanksgiving timeline."

The first Thanksgiving took place in 1621, when pilgrims and Native Americans gathered together to celebrate a successful harvest. The menu consisted of fowl, deer, fish, and berries.

The very first national day of Thanksgiving was held in 1789, when President George Washington proclaimed Thursday, November 26th to be a day of public thanks-giving and prayer. At this point, however, Thanksgiving was not an official annual celebration.

In 1817, New York became the first of several states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday. However, each state celebrated it on a different day, and the American South remained largely unfamiliar with the tradition.

On October 3, 1863, President Lincoln issued a Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday in November to be a day of "Thanksgiving and praise." It was then that Thanksgiving became a national holiday for the first time.

But there were to be more changes. To give more time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, President Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up to the second-to-the-last Thursday of the month.

And what's Thanksgiving without a parade? The first annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade took place in 1924 in New York City. This event became the standard that officially started the Christmas shopping season.

We also can't forget football. 26,000 fans watched the Detroit Lions face the Chicago Bears at the University of Detroit Stadium, the first NFL game held on Thanksgiving Day. It was also broadcast on radio to 94 stations nationwide.

Today, the Thanksgiving celebration has lost much of its religious significance. It now centers more on sharing a meal. For the menu, nearly ninety percent of Americans have turkey. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pumpkin pie.

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