The mentioning of the holiday ‘Thanksgiving’ can invoke multiple images of merriment, family get-togethers, and delightful dishes. It’s a day in which citizens of the United States can abandon their woes and worries, and enjoy a festive day with their friends and loved ones. For American citizens residing in Egypt, Thanksgiving maintains its status as a traditional holiday to be celebrated and enjoyed, regardless of their distance from home. The historical significance behind Thanksgiving is rich with details and fact intertwined with fiction, and is a topic worthy of delving into.

September of 1620 marked the beginning of a period in which pilgrims and ordinary civilians abandoned England in search of sanctuary in the New World. Amongst such pilgrims were those who left Plymouth on a vessel carrying 102 passengers. Upon their arrival, they were greeted with a rather shocking-and pleasant-surprise. Once they reached the shore, they were greeted by an English speaking Native American by the name of Squanto.  Prior to meeting Squanto, the Plymouth pilgrims had spent a brutal, unforgiving winter aboard their ship before making their way to shore. Frightened, starving and suffering from illness, Squanto sought to assist the pilgrims by teaching them about the many exotic plants and animals present in The New World. He particularly taught them how to differentiate between edible and poisonous plants, and he taught them how to hunt and gather efficiently in this new terrain. Squanto’s assistance proved crucial in helping the pilgrims lay the foundations for what one soon become a thriving establishment. In November 1621, the pilgrims coordinated their first successful corn harvest under Squanto’s essential guidance.

The pilgrims wanted to relay their eternal gratitude towards Squanto and his people for their generosity, so they hosted a feast in which the pilgrims and Squanto’s tribe could unite in a moment of peace, prosperity, and good food! This day was dubbed as ‘Thanksgiving’- the first among many in American history. As settlers began establishing themselves in the New World, the phenomenon that was Thanksgiving began to spread to all the separate communities. By 1817, it became an annual holiday in New York.jhbk

Thanksgiving is an iconic day. People set aside their differences and troubles and enjoy bountiful meals with friends and family, and memories are made. To fully understand Thanksgiving, an examination of its history and background is crucial. It is widely believed that the initial settlers in the New World sought to eradicate every Native American they came into contact with, and the history behind Thanksgiving contradicts that. This goes to show that it is crucial to evaluate all perspectives to a story, and maintain an open mind and heart at all times.

By Timour Razek


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