Armenians celebrate first Thanksgiving, November 26, 1896 in Boston, Massachusetts
Thanksgiving is a unique American holiday. In one sense it memorializes the first Thanksgiving that was celebrated between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Native American Indians. In another sense, it is a holiday that simply affords Americans to be thankful for our families, communities, bounty, and most importantly, our freedom.
As a great university is composed of many great smaller colleges, so our great nation is made up of many wonderful ethnic and culturally diverse immigrant communities, and each embraces Thanksgivings with its own special traditions, rituals, foods and memories.
The citizens of Massachusetts, who are of Armenian heritage, are afforded the opportunity to recall November 26, 1896, as the first time that the Armenian immigrants, Armenian nationalized citizens and the city of Boston celebrated Thanksgiving in a welcoming spirit of friendship and freedom. The dinner was held in the Gulesian Building, located at 16 Waltham Street, and named after its owner Moses H. Gulesian
Moses Gulesian, an Armenian immigrant, arrived in the United States in 1883, at the age of 17. He was born in 1866 in Marash, a former Armenian city, in present day Turkey. Settling in Worcester, Massachusetts, he soon became, along with William Lloyd Garrison, Henry Cabot Lodge, Julia Ward Howe, Alice Stone Backwell, a principal supporter and provider of resources and financial assistance for the thousands of Armenian immigrants that arrived in Boston in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries.