Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Home Sweet Home
I had to do some searching to find something that would pretty much sum up what Thanksgiving is/has been for me and my family over the years. I'm sure the God stuff and reference to the menu will annoy some...they're not my words but what I found online.
Thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday, even over Christmas, surprisingly enough. Any holiday is what you make of it. No one has to buy into the commercialism of it. It's a great time to get together with family and friends and share a good meal.
Here's what I found online:
"In autumn 1621, about a year after the Mayflower Pilgrims made landfall at Plymouth, they put together a feast and broke bread with their Native American neighbors, the Wampanoag, who were celebrating Keepunumuk, the time of the harvest. The menu featured fowl, venison and fish, along with wheat and corn products. A contemporary account written by colonist Edward Winslow showed the assembled to be content with their lot:
'And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us [when we were back in England], yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you [our English brethren] partakers of our plenty.'
Sporadic national, regional and individual Thanksgivings followed, but the day did not become an annual, national holiday until 1863. Americans were waging the Civil War, and in the midst of it President Abraham Lincoln, spurred on by the lobbying efforts of writer Sarah Josepha Hale, proclaimed a national day in which to express thanks for the many blessings enjoyed by Americans, e.g., natural resources and population growth, despite the military conflict:
'They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy.
It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.'
It wasn't till later in the 19th century, though, that the popular image of the "First Thanksgiving" took root. Earlier, while the Indian wars were still raging, scenes of settlers and natives engaging in joint revelry seemed inconceivable."