PODCAST: The South and the 'Yankee' Holiday Called Thanksgiving

New Orleans didn't always celebrate Turkey Day.
John Magill

John Magill is a curator and historian at The Historic New Orleans Collection. In this podcast, Magill shares his historical perspective on the uniquely American holiday we call Thanksgiving. The origins of Thanksgiving trace to 1621 in the Plymouth Colonies. As Magill points out, initially Thanksgiving was primarily a New England holiday; New Orleans did not start celebrating Thanksgiving until the 19th century. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln officially declared Thanksgiving a holiday. Nevertheless, in a reflection of the times, many Southern states regarded Thanksgiving as a "Yankee" holiday. However, with time and consensus regarding the date, eventually President Franklin Delano Roosevelt made Thanksgiving a legal Federal holiday. As Magill shares his wealth of knowledge about this celebration of gratitude, he gives us an interesting bit of Thanksgiving trivia that few know: The familiar holiday tune, "Jingle Bells," was originally a Thanksgiving song.

Listen to the podcast here.

Categories: New Orleans Voices