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Thanksgiving: The Making of an American Holiday

Think it’s all about Pilgrims? Think again.


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In the video above, learn the real history of Thanksgiving.

Pilgrims in tall black hats and Indians in feathered headdresses may be the most commonly recognized emblems of Thanksgiving, one of America’s most popular national holidays (it surpasses Christmas as the busiest travel time of the year). But the real origins of the holiday have little to do with Plymouth Rock and a lot more to do with a nation in turmoil during the Civil War—more than 200 years after the Pilgrims’ 1620 landing in Plymouth.

BU Today asked anthropologists Merry White, a College of Arts & Sciences professor, and Tony Barrand, a CAS and University Professor emeritus, to give us some insight into the foggy beginnings of America’s favorite day.

Devin Hahn, Producer/Editor, BU Today, Bostonia, Boston University
Devin Hahn

Devin Hahn can be reached at dhahn@bu.edu.

One Comment on Thanksgiving: The Making of an American Holiday

  • Overlord of the Underclassmen on 11.28.2011 at 5:43 pm

    Think it was about Pilgrims and Native Americans? Think again! The pilgrims were aliens.

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