Thanksgiving is celebrating its 125th anniversary this month

Thanksgiving in America began in the mid-18th century with the expectation that groups of locals would gather for feasts following new crops.

That lasted until the 1870s, when an alarmed nation decided to organize a national, religious observance.

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Thanksgiving – or thanksgiving day, to use its real name – got a permanent venue when President James A. Garfield established the national holiday in 1887 in an effort to dispel the fears of his time regarding how the holiday would be used.

My host and I tucked into a turkey dinner at my Gramma’s place in Pennsylvania. — Jen Renshaw (@gdna) August 10, 2018

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Years of cultural informality around the holiday – including two New England governors dining together – eventually gave way to strict adherence to Native American ceremonies and traditions. In 1896, President William Howard Taft declared that Thanksgiving be the second Thursday in November to mark a more formal holiday by Congress.

Meanwhile, the general public expanded its understanding of what that tradition entailed. Through bold social media posts, new song lyrics, and recipes of all descriptions, Americans finally officially became part of the historic tradition.

However, thanksgiving is not without its problems. The holiday is largely expensive and time-consuming. Politicians are still quick to have an annual debate about how much is too much, while potential guests of honor are understandably nervous to plan a Thanksgiving.

Regardless, Americans make it work – not just each other – for the sake of a good meal and a national holiday that’s becoming more and more of a cultural mainstay.

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