Forefathers Day

Forefather’s Day is a holiday that’s observed on December 22st and commemorates the landing of the Pilgrims in Plymouth, Massachusetts. For Americans, this is a holiday that helps them get in touch with their national history, and for some, with their own personal history. The pilgrims landed in Plymouth on December 1, 1620, and this holiday was first introduced in that area in 1769. Now it’s a holiday that’s celebrated across the United States.

The History Of Forefather’s Day

Forefather’s Day was first observed by one of the oldest Gentlemen’s Clubs in the U.S known as the Old Colony Club. They invented this holiday to honor their forefathers and they started the first one on December 1, 1769. That original celebration began at 6 in the morning with a march by members to the top of Cole’s Hill by the Massasoit statue. This was then followed by a reading of a proclamation that honored their pilgrim forefathers and a celebratory firing of the club’s cannon. It’s a holiday that’s been observed ever since, although it did take a while before it was celebrated on a widespread basis. In 1920, U.S President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the day as Pilgrim’s Day and some people still celebrate the holiday under that name.

Facts About The Pilgrims

In 2020, the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage was observed and the importance of this holiday has been brought into even sharper focus. That’s why we decided to gather up as many facts about the pilgrims as we could and share them with everyone reading about Forefather’s Day.

The Pilgrims Tried Living In The Netherlands First

The pilgrims left England so they could escape England’s rule over the way Christians could worship their God or raise their children. They first traveled to the Netherlands to establish a Christian church that would be free of influence by the government. They felt like they were losing their “English” identity and were being assimilated into Dutch society, so in 1620, they decided to sail to the New World.

Delays Led To A Dangerous Winter Crossing

The original plan of the pilgrims was to cross the ocean in June, but because they had to not only gather the supplies but manually load the supplies themselves, they ended up setting sail in late fall. As a result, many pilgrims were sick and/or dying and had to immediately begin building a community when they landed in order to survive.

The Reason Why They Ended Up At A Cleared Land

When they arrived at Plymouth, they encountered a cleared land suitable for establishing a village that must have seemed miraculous to them. However, it wasn’t a miracle the area was clear, it’s because it was once the site of a Native American village known as Pautuxet. Between 1616 and 1619, two thousand Wampanoag people were killed and the only remaining member was Tisquantum-otherwise known as Squanto.

Observing Forefather’s Day

Anyone wishing to observe this holiday can do so by learning more about the pilgrims, more about the history of the U.S., or more about their own personal history. Since many people in the U.S aren’t descendants of the pilgrims, it’s a good day for people to trace their own history back to their original ancestors. If you’re observing this holiday, be sure to use the hashtag #ForeFathersDay on your social media post for the day.

When is it?
This year (2023)
December 22 Friday
Next year (2024)
December 22 Sunday
Last year (2022)
December 22 Thursday
Culture & History