10 Ways The History Of Thanksgiving Is Nothing Like You Imagined

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7. Children Went Door-To-Door Asking For Treats

During the 19th century, a brand new Thanksgiving tradition began: “Ragamuffin Day.” Children started dressing up, going door-to-door, and asking for treats. Thanksgiving, for a while, was an awful lot like Halloween—except that it was an awful lot crueler.

The Thanksgiving Ragamuffin tradition started in Massachusetts when a group of poor children who were starving to death went to their neighbors’ doors begging for scraps of food, asking, “Something for Thanksgiving?”

The rich kids saw the plight of the less fortunate, and they thought it was hilarious. As a cruel joke, they started imitating them. Every Thanksgiving, the wealthier kids started putting on tattered clothes and going door-to-door pretending to be beggars. In return, people would hand out pennies, apples, or pieces of candy.[4]

Going door-to-door was a Thanksgiving tradition for decades. It didn’t end until the Great Depression hit, and suddenly nobody had any pennies to share. Pretending to a beggar wasn’t as funny as it once had been, and the fad died out.

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