In 2009 Pilgrims, turkey, and pie equal Thanksgiving, but is this how the holiday really started? While it is true that the Plymouth colonists and the Wampanoags did hold a harvest feast, this was not the beginning of the annual holiday we now celebrate, but just a one time harvest feast. In early colonial America thanksgivings were days of solemn prayer and worship much like the Sabbath. These thanksgivings could happen throughout the year and could be held for many reasons. Fall was a time of great harvest and it was not uncommon for thanksgivings to be held in autumn as a way to be thankful for the bounties of the harvest.
As time went on autumnal harvest feasts grew and began to be combined with religious days of thanksgiving. By the mid-18th century a singular day of Thanksgiving was becoming more popular and was predominantly held in the autumn months from October to the end of December. These Thanksgiving days were often proclaimed a week prior to the actual day of Thanksgiving by the church, town, or local government. Thanksgiving by the mid-18th century was a day of prayer and church services as well as a day of feast and fun.