When : Always December 21
Forefather's Day commemorates the pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620. They left for the New World, to escape religious persecution. After a late fall start, the Mayflower set sail from England and landed at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts just before Christmas. This holiday is celebrated largely in New England. If you are not from New England, chances are this is the first you have heard of Forefather's Day.
The pilgrims originally set sail from England in two ships, the Speedwell and the Mayflower. The Speedwell leaked so badly, that they were forced to return to England, Ultimately, they all crammed into the Mayflower, and set sail from Plymouth, England. It was much later than they had planned. Strong fall west winds also delayed their arrival in the New World. Finally, on December 21, 1620 they landed.
Origin of Forefather's Day:
Forefather's Day was first celebrated in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1769. A group of descendants gathered to have a feast in honor of the pilgrims. This group shared a meal together, which included many native American delicacies.
This Day in History December 21
Plymouth Colony: William Bradford and the Mayflower Pilgrims land on what is now known as Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts. (1620)
American settlers in Nacogdoches, Mexican Texas, declare their independence, starting the Fredonian Rebellion. (1826)
Medal of Honor: Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy Medal of Valor, is signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. (1861)
The Royal Canadian Dragoons and The Royal Canadian Regiment, the first Permanent Force cavalry and infantry regiments of the Canadian Army, are formed: . (1883)
Arthur Wynne's "word-cross", the first crossword puzzle, is published in the New York World. (1913)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world's first full-length animated feature, premieres at the Carthay Circle Theatre. (1937)
World War II: A formal treaty of alliance between Thailand and Japan is signed in the presence of the Emerald Buddha in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand. (1941)
Louis Washkansky, the first man to undergo a heart transplant, dies in Cape Town, South Africa, having lived for 18 days after the transplant. (1967)
Apollo program: Apollo 8 is launched from the Kennedy Space Center, placing its crew on a lunar trajectory for the first visit to another celestial body by humans. (1968)
The United Nations adopts the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. (1969)
The Geneva Conference on the Arab–Israeli conflict opens. (1973)
A bomb explodes on board Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, killing 270. (1988)
Mexican volcano Popocatépetl, dormant for 47 years, erupts gases and ash. (1994)
The city of Bethlehem passes from Israeli to Palestinian control. (1995)
Iraq War: A suicide bomber killed 22 at the forward operating base next to the main U.S. military airfield at Mosul, Iraq, the single deadliest suicide attack on American soldiers. (2004)