Every country around the world has their traditions, holidays, national celebrations and grand festivals! Many holidays celebrated today have a loss of meaning, and the original whereabouts of a day of traditions is lost to history in most folks mind.
“Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.” – William Arthur Ward
Thanksgiving typically evokes memories and planning for football, pumpkin pie, turkey, yams and getting together with family for (dis)functional gatherings. Joyful times indeed. So where did Thanksgiving originate? It’s kind of controversial. The holiday was actually celebrated at different times in history for a short list of purposes.
In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”, to be celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.
“Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”
Thanksgiving was also proclaimed a National and public holiday by George Washington in 1789. The event that Americans most often call the “First Thanksgiving” was revered by the Pilgrims after their first harvest in the “New World” in 1621. The attendees included 53 Pilgrims and 90 Native Americans. The First Thanksgiving feast lasted 3 days! In today’s American standards that equals 3 days of near-death food comatose…and football.
Before the Pilgrims (New England Colonists) arrived in present day America, they were already accustomed to celebrating “thanksgiving,” also seen as days of prayer; thanking God for blessings such as victories of their military or the ending of long droughts in the land.
Edward Winslow, in Mourt’s Relation wrote:
Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.
So with all that — 3 days of gratefulness and thanksgiving after the first harvest — then war, blood, treaties, mercenaries and massacres. The season of thanksgiving was a bittersweet one that has been reconciled though history to be a day of happiness and family togetherness…and football. Susan Bates depicts her written story of “The REAL Story of Thanksgiving” in a short article.
I like Thanksgiving not for its history, or turkey (I am vegetarian), or football (I like soccer) – I like Thanksgiving because it has so successfully been marketed as a day of family togetherness and a reminder to be grateful. I mean sure, it can produce stress and much intake of calories, more often than not family scuffles, but HEY! It’s Thanksgiving. I also like it because my birthday is around it, falling on Thanksgiving every 5 years. Ha.
I love to promote gratitude, and being grateful for all the things in our life. Big and small. Day in and day out. Don’t you?
Meet “Furkey,” our Thanksgiving pumpkin turkey
365 Grateful Project
Everyday is a day to be grateful, not just Thanksgiving. Take it from this gal; her idea bloomed into a world-wide year of giving thanks. If we take the time to acknowledge the things in our life to be grateful for, our whole world would change. 365 Grateful Project, check it out.
P.S. Comment what you are most grateful for today.
2 Comments Add yours
I’m thankful to have an awesome best friend. I feel like her and her daughter have become part of my family.
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I know your best friend is so thankful for you too!! “My friends and family are my support system. They tell me what I need to hear, not what I want to hear and they are there for me in the good and bad times. Without them I have no idea where I would be and I know that their love for me is what’s keeping my head above the water.” I *HEART* you, Wendy! You are also a great friend.