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Every year, the anniversary of the first pilgrims landing on the shores of North America is observed on Forefathers’ Day on December 22 (unless it occurs on a Sunday, in which case Forefathers’ Day is celebrated on December 23). Although the forefathers landed in America on December 21, the anniversary was accidentally marked as December 22 when the Gregorian calendar was adopted. It is definitely worth celebrating the journey of the first pilgrims who sailed across the ocean in search of a better life and ultimately launched one of the superpower countries of the world. Few things are more important to Americans than heritage. Remembering where you come from, and how hard you’ve worked to get where you are, are all integral parts of the concept of the American dream.
History of Forefathers’ Day
It is a story as heroic as any classic tale in literature. The story of the nation’s brave forefathers who escaped economic limitations, unemployment, and religious persecution in search of freedom and preservation of their cultural identity.
Sailing into the unknown with the hope of a new world, the pilgrim forefathers boarded the Mayflower and Speedwell to journey to the U.S. Due to issues and leakage, the passengers in the Speedwell were squeezed into the Mayflower. Risky as it was, the Mayflower shored at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620. And thus, America was discovered.
Seven descendants from the Mayflower founded the Old Colony Club in 1769 to proudly honor the bravery of their forefathers and to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrim Fathers. Forefathers’ Day has been observed every year since, rising in popularity as the years went on.
By 1880, people from all over the country participated enthusiastically in the observance of Forefathers’ Day. From Los Angeles to New England, and organizations to churches, the holiday is commemorated with meetings, formal dinners, and speeches highlighting the historical significance of the pilgrims and their accomplishments.
However, after the Civil War ended and President Abraham Lincoln announced the official day for celebrating Thanksgiving, Forefathers’ Day annual celebrations took a fall. So much so, that by the 1900s the holiday was altogether merged with Thanksgiving. Among all the regions across the country, only Plymouth continues to pay tribute to its history and the forefathers, without whom there would be no America.
Forefathers’ Day timeline
President Abraham Lincoln announces this day as the official Thanksgiving day.
John Quincy Adams label the Pilgrims as proto-democrats, creating the foundation for the future Republican government.
The Mayflower descendants establish the Old Colony Club.
The Pilgrims in the Mayflower land on Plymouth Rock.
Forefathers’ Day FAQs
Which tribe did the first Pilgrims meet in America?
The natives residing in Plymouth Colony were the tribes of the Wampanoag people, who had settled there around 10,000 years before the Europeans arrived.
Why did the first Pilgrims come to America?
There were many reasons for the Pilgrims’ voyage to America. One of the biggest reasons was religious freedom.
Was the Mayflower the only ship of the Pilgrim Fathers to reach America?
Yes, the Mayflower is the only ship that made it from England to Plymouth. The Speedwell didn’t make it so far due to leaks and failures.
How to Observe Forefathers’ Day
Dine like the pilgrims
Replicate the ‘New England Dining’ meal for your family with the same menu items that are offered in the traditional meetings of Forefathers’ Day celebrations.
Learn about your lineage
Many blue-blooded Americans have ancestors who were aboard the Mayflower. Learn about your country’s history and the first pilgrims who landed.
Keep the holiday alive
Since Forefathers’ Day is no longer celebrated as widely as it once used to be, do your part in creating awareness for this day by posting about it on social media.
5 Facts About The Pilgrims’ Journey To America
A first of its kind
The Pilgrim settlers at Plymouth, Massachusetts established among the first permanent colonies in New England.
In 2020, Deval Patrick, former Governor of Massachusetts, initiated a state commission in honor of the 400th anniversary of the landing of the forefathers.
Clash of the greats
A dispute among the Old Colony Club members resulted in their division into Patriots and Loyalists.
Survival rate after the settlement
Out of 102, only 51 passengers of the Mayflower survived the first winter in Plymouth.
Birth aboard the Mayflower
A child was born during the journey on the Mayflower. He was named Oceanus.
Why Forefathers’ Day is important
All hail America!
America, land of the free! Forefathers’ day celebrates the birth of one of the world’s greatest nations.
Struggles of the Pilgrim Fathers
In the face of insurmountable odds, the Pilgrim Fathers were able to establish themselves in their new settlement. They faced many hardships, disease, and hunger, and remained resilient. Their sacrifices were not in vain and we must continue to celebrate their courageous spirit.
Learning from the greats
History either serves as a reminder to not repeat mistakes, or it shines a light on great men who have accomplished great things. America and its humble beginnings are a testimony to this, and the country’s rich history must be preserved for all future generations.
Forefathers’ Day dates