The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans brought new Thanksgiving traditions to the American scene. Today's national Thanksgiving celebration is a blend of two traditions: the New England custom of rejoicing after a successful harvest, based on an ancient English harvest festival; and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a solemn religious observance combining prayer and feasting.
The Continental Congress proclaimed the first national Thanksgiving in 1777. The Pilgrims and the Wampanoag were not particularly identified with Thanksgiving until about 1900. With the publication of Longfellow's best-selling poem The Courtship of Miles Standish (1848) and the recovery of Governor Bradford's lost manuscript Of Plimoth Plantation (1855), public interest in the Pilgrims and Wampanoag grew just as Thanksgiving became nationally important.
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