Why is Football a Thanksgiving Tradition?

It’s time for another look at Holiday History! Thanksgiving is tomorrow and as it’s Thanksgiving Eve, it’s the perfect excuse to talk about history instead of the hydronics Sales Guy Scott thought I was writing about. In the US, there is a tradition of watching or in some cases playing football on Thanksgiving. The question on our minds today: why!? It’s Turkey Day, who wants to get a concussion and get stuck with hospital turkey? The Origins of a Tradition Football as we know it today basically came about in the mid 1800s (technically, it’s roots go farther back, but that’s a topic for another day). This lines up pretty well with the start of Thanksgiving as a federal holiday in the 1860s. The new holiday gave nearly everyone a day off. Various football teams took advantage of the day off and began to organize annual games on Thanksgiving. As near as we can tell, the first such game was in 1876, held by Princeton and Yale. Other teams would pick up on the idea at all levels. Some high schools end their football season with a Thanksgiving day game still today. Professional leagues would soon pick up on the idea, with Thanksgiving day games held in the early football leagues in the 1890s. The Big League’s Holiday Essentially from that time forward, there have been Thanksgiving football games. It’s a core part of the sport’s DNA. In 1939,  President […]

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The History of Thanksgiving

It’s time for another deep dive into the History of a Holiday. Today we’re going to cover Thanksgiving. Luckily, this is something a little more straight forward than Halloween’s two thousand year history.   The First Thanksgiving There is a long history to the holiday pre-dating what we’ve often be taught was the first Thanksgiving. Among the religious Separatists and the Puritans, there was a tradition of providential holidays. In times of great challenge, it was traditional to declare a religious fast and appeal to God for deliverance. In times of great success and abundance, great feasts to Thank God were a common occurrence. Going farther back, harvest celebrations can be found among the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans who feasted and gave thanks to their respective gods for a successful harvest. Throughout the colonization of America, there were multiple “Thanksgivings” held. In 1565 there was a Thanksgiving in St. Augustine, Florida to thank God for the crew’s safe passage from Europe. Another was held in 1619 in Virgina, proclaimed as a “Day of Thanksgiving to Almighty God,” by the British Settlers there. Our traditional “Thanksgiving” featured in numerous TV Specials and elementary school history classes was’t held until 1621. Perhaps the success of the Plymouth Colonists has made it a better recorded and remembered celebration. Those colonists, commonly known as the Pilgrims, had just taken in their first successful harvest. Per the tradition, it was a time of abundance and […]

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