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Thanksgiving in Appalachia

  • Thanksgiving in Appalachia

An Appalachian Thanksgiving

An Appalachian Thanksgiving is a special time a year.  It will soon be the beginning of the winter season and is the ending of the colorful landscapes that covered the Blue Ridge Mountains just days ago.  

Thanksgiving to the North Carolina Mountains is a time to harvest pumpkin, apples, cabbage, and other edibles, and for Ashe County’s major mainstay of the economy, Christmas trees. 

 It is a day of giving thanks for past year’s blessings and for the abundant of food prepared and shared by family and friends.

The First Thanksgiving

According to history, the first Thanksgiving was a harvest celebration held by the English colonists (Pilgrims) in the Plymouth Colony and the Wampanoag tribe in the early 1620s.  The celebration began in late September and lasted through mid-November.

Thanksgiving falls on the Last Thursday in November

Prior to 1941, people celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November.

However, when the first day of November falls on a Wednesday or Thursday, November has five Thursdays.  In calculations for the upcoming many years, this would only happen twenty-eight percentage of the time, but people thought it was confusing.  And when the Thanksgiving Holiday was on the fifth Thursday in November, it was too close to the Christmas Holidays. 

Taking these concerns into consideration, President Roosevelt declared that Thanksgiving would be the second-to-last Thursday of November.  His explanation to the people was that it would give more time to prepare for the Christmas holidays, but the President’s explanation failed as citizens felt this was even more confusing. 

So, at the end of 1941, President Roosevelt signed a bill permanently proclaiming Thanksgiving Day would happen on the fourth Thursday in each November.  Thanksgiving is an Annual National Holiday in the United States and Canada An Appalachian Mountain Thanksgiving’s menu shared by most Appalachians, consists of a stuffed turkey or turkey and oyster dressing on the side, a variety of vegetables, sweet cranberries sauce, and a choice of deserts.  For most, pumpkin pie as well as a pecan pie and an old fashion apple stack cake is a staple for Thanksgiving Day.

Oysters and a variety of shellfish are a favorite mainstay for the Thanksgiving meal in some coastal areas, while duck, lamb, Quail, and baked ham in other regions.

It does not matter where you live, just enjoy your traditional Thanksgiving dinner.  It is best when shared with family and friends between 2:00pm and 4:00pm. 

Note:  A couple of events in November that you may not want to miss.

West Jefferson’s Annual Holiday Parade is Held in November

The West Jefferson’s Lion Club sponsors a Holiday Parade each November in downtown West Jefferson.  This year the parade will be on Saturday, November 20, 2021, beginning at 3:00pm and last until 5:00pm.  It is free and everyone is welcome.

Ashe County Choose and Cut

Christmas begins in Ashe County in November.  Choose and Cut weekend is the weekend that West Jefferson welcomes all visitors to shop the unique "Mom and Pop" stores for Christmas gifts that is not found anywhere else.  For more information - Cut and Choose.



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