First thanksgiving table



Gratitude and Giving Thanks. On the fourth Thursday of each November, we remember the First Thanksgiving, when the Pokanoket and Plymouth colonists came together after a season of diplomacy to share a harvest feast in the fall of 1621.

Join us this fall for a host of special activities, events and exhibits on how this history - and the deeply human expression of gratitude that inspired it - continues to impact us today.

Table set for Thanksgiving in the English village with pilgrim houses in the background.

History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a national holiday that takes place on the fourth Thursday in November. But why do we celebrate Thanksgiving? And what is the meaning behind it?

For the original participants - the Indigenous Pokanoket people and English people - a successful harvest was reason enough to rejoice. On land Indigenous people call Patuxet, the great sachem of the Pokanoket, Ousamequin (Massasoit) and 90 of his men, shared in three days of feasting and entertainment with the English. Patuxet/Plymouth is the place where ancient traditions of gratitude in both Indigenous and European cultures merged in the autumn of 1621, and a new holiday of gathering and giving thanks began.

Learn more about the history of Thanksgiving

Pilgrim serves thanksgiving dinner to guest

Join us for Thanksgiving

Every autumn we offer our immensely popular Thanksgiving dining programs. Fresh ingredients, mouthwatering flavors, festive surroundings, and a sense of history that can be found nowhere else in the world. Join us for an unforgettable holiday dining experience.

Join us for Thanksgiving Dining

The Wampanoag and Pilgrims join each other a table on the First Thanksgiving

We Gather Together: Thanksgiving, Gratitude, and the Making of an American Holiday

An exhibition focused on the origins of one of America's quintessential holidays - Thanksgiving.

Learn more on our exhibitions page