Thanksgiving is celebrated in United States, Canada and in some other countries of the world, like Germany, UK, Japan, etc. It is celebrated annually on fourth Thursday of the November in United States and on second Monday of October in Canada with the same enthusiasm.
It is called with different names in different countries of the world. On this day, people gather and share meals, play games, have party and talk about the things which people are thankful. Thanksgiving was originated as a harvest festival. In some cities and towns, parades are arranged while the whole weekend of Thanksgiving.
It can be said as Thanksgiving is start of Christmas season. The day after thanksgiving is known as Black Friday. And, on this day there are heavy deals on products. There are lot of discounts and other kinds of offers.
Thanksgiving Day is a National holiday which starts from Thursday and all the schools, colleges, offices, governmental are off on this day and are closed straight for four days of the 4th week of November each year.
In today’s world the meaning of thanksgiving is just confined to celebrating the four days weekend, family gathering and good food and also some football matches. But thanksgiving has a huge history behind it. And it has a meaningful reason behind its celebration. The meaning of thanksgiving has undergone different changes but it is still celebrated with full joy and enthusiasm.
When the people came together to celebrate this day? Family, friends, neighbor gather together to share their gratitude towards the things they have and they are thankful for. It brings unity and it makes them stand for each other not just in good days but in bad days too. We show our gratitude for the gifts that god gave us. We thank god on this day and please him for the fortune he gave us. We teach our young ones to be humble to other and stay connected to their loved ones. The praying session before thanksgiving meal forms a thanksgiving family legacy.
According to Bible, “There things I remember as I pour out my soul; how I used to go with multitude, leading the procession to the ho0use of God, with shouts of Joy and thanksgiving among the feature festive through.” [Psalm 42:4]
Thanksgiving is a way of worshipping God. It shows how grateful we are for the opportunities we get in our lives. It reflects the adoration and the praise towards it. It shows the relationship of a man and God. We mention God in our thanksgiving message, you can show other what. He has done for you. It is a way of strengthening your faith, your bond with God and promoting His deeds to those around you.
Story that everyone knows
Thanksgiving has a huge and interesting history behind it. It gradually changed and got altered by the time. But when the manuscript of Bradford got into Hales hand then it came into light and became a national holiday in United States.
Anciently, thanksgiving is based on Colonial Pilgrims’ 1621 Harvest meal. It was the first meal the Pilgrims did with Wampanoag Indians. Pilgrims were initially known as Plymouth Massachusetts. The former governor of the Plymouth Massachusetts, Sir William Bradford, in his manuscript (diary) noted that in the year 1621 the people of Plymouth enjoyed a very good harvest. So for thanking their fortune they arranged a meal, which everyone enjoyed together and joined to show the unity. The Wampanoag Indian natives just only not joined the dinner but also helped the pilgrims in making it. They helped them gather food and other things of their needs like hunting tools and materials of their requirement.
This dinner meal created a sense of peace between the two different cultures of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag natives, which made this day more important and memorable. And, till date this festival is celebrated with huge amount of excitement in different parts of the world, to thank God for everything they are glad of having.
The reason behind the meal arranged according to Mashpee
Mashpee means the remnant of Algonquian people from Massachusetts and long island living on Cape Cod. So, according to them, the pilgrim had their successful harvest. They were arranging to celebrate that and planning their own thanksgiving. Mashpee say that the pilgrims in order to celebrate the success they followed the Arabs, as the Arabs fire in air to show the joy. The pilgrims were doing that. And this alerted the Mashpee, they wondered at what and on whom they were shooting. So, the Massasoit came together to the pilgrim, to know the truth. They did not understand each other’s language. Then, through a translator they were explained that they were celebrating the harvest.
But the Massasoit were not sure if that was the only reason. So, they decided to keep a check on them. They set up camps. According to the Mashpee, the pilgrims did not invite the Wampanoag (as the story tells). They say, they did share the meal together but not as told as first thanksgiving. They had different cultures, they ate different food, and they talked different languages.
Massasoit say that they (the Plymouth) were vulnerable. They relied on them for their needs and protection. So, they had to be friendly with each other. And they shared the meals with each other. As a reason behind they thanked for the green corn cultivated, for the arrival of some fish species, etc. But, never arranged the above said thanksgiving meal for the people of Wampanoag. According to Mashpee it was all made up by the Plymouth. And we also know that what schools teaches us is not the whole truth.
Years after the history got altered; the reason behind celebrating the meal got changed. But it is still celebrated with all the joy. Later, this day was celebrated in honor of the American natives, as they helped this pilgrims in cultivating crops. The celebrations lasted for three days. The Americans helped the pilgrims to survive the chilling winters, which they appreciated and arranged a meal in order to thank them.
How it became a national holiday in United States
People of America have always been celebrating this day. But, until 1863, it was not a national holiday. It was just a small gathering between the friends and family, but never as a national holiday.
George Washington, John Aclams and James Madison and the other US Presidents celebrated this day, just in order to honor and thank their redundancies. Till 1863, it was not celebrated as a national holiday. When the civil war was going on President Lincoln declared this day as a national holiday, which is organized and celebrated by the Americans in the month of November, each year.
Before Lincoln, a female magazine editor Sarah Hale took the initiative to make thanksgiving a national holiday. Till that time nobody even dreamt of declaring it as a national holiday. It was first gathering of people where different colonies celebrated their own days of thanksgiving during the year.
When the magazine author Sarah J Hale got the manuscript written by William Bradford. Then, that time governor of the Plymouth Massachusetts took some initiatives to convert it into a national holiday just to promote peace during the war time.
Sarah Hale was the editor of the influential Godey’s lady’s Book for 40 years, from 1837 to 1877. When she was nearly 90 years of age, she was an advocate and through the magazine she edited and she became a figure in the country who set fashion, reading and cooking trends.
Hale was a patriotic woman, when she got the manuscripts of the 1691 feast of the pilgrims and Wampanoag, she decided to make it a national holiday. She published in the Godey’s Lady’s book about the food recipes for cooking turkey, stuffing pies, etc.
She started the campaign of writing to the President about the Thanksgiving Day. Also, she created a public support and started to write about it in her magazines. Every year, she used to write an editorial about it.
Getting influenced by her letter and initiatives, the President started celebrating the day officially but until now it was not an official annual holiday.
Eventually, President Abraham Lincoln appreciated her attempts and declared this day as a national holiday. He himself thought that this festival in which people, families, neighbors, relatives come together having a meal and thanking for the blessings they have. They thank god for once again uniting them all and of course in the days of wars.
Lincoln declared that every year the Thanksgiving Day will be celebrated on fourth Thursday of November every year.
Till 1939, fourth Thursday was celebrated as Thanksgiving Day. Then, President Franklin D. Roosevelt decided to change it from fourth to the third Thursday in order to raise the economy. He thought that Thanksgiving Day starts the season of Christmas shopping, so people would get some extra days to do shopping and businessmen would also get a few more days to increase their income, which would lead to the rise of national economy. This continued for just two years. As Roosevelt was pressurized by the congress to make fourth Thursday as national holiday, in the year 1942 he did so. He declared that fourth Thursday would be the official national holiday for Thanksgiving Day. Without any further changes from then until now it is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
“Where is it celebrated?”
Thanksgiving is celebrated in different parts of the world, as it is celebrated on fourth Thursday every year in United States of America. It is celebrated on second Monday of October in Canada every year. It is celebrated in some Caribbean Islands and also in Liberia.
In Japan, there is a national holiday on 23rd of November every year. It is celebrated in order to thank the people of to commemorate and production works. It is celebrated there to honor the labor and manufacturing and give thanks to each other.
While in Britain, it is not a national holiday but it is celebrated as a family gathering just like a reunion. In Germany, first Sunday of October is declared as the Thanksgiving Day. In order to thank for their good fortune and harvest of the year and to give thanks.
The worker would fill a goat’s horn with food item like fruits and grains. This is called a cornucopia and in some areas, Erntedank coincide with wine harvest and takes place at late November. This typical German Australian Thanksgiving celebration or Erntedank fest is a rural harvest time, with church services, a parade, music and a lovely fair atmosphere.
In United States of America, In spite of its religious significance, the Thanksgiving Day became a secular holiday. People started arranging get together and they used to write Thanksgiving notes for the things they are thankful for and then everyone reads it loud out in front of everyone viz. family members, relatives, friends and neighbor. Parades are also arranged in many parts of the country on this day.
People prepare delicious food items like turkey stuffed, strawberry sauce, pumpkin pies and mashed potatoes and people share these dishes with everyone. These are the dishes which are served initially in the meal.
The meal at the first Thanksgiving
According to the historians, they believed that Wampanoag heard the pilgrims shooting with their guns. They reached to them as soon as possible and found out the reason behind the shooting. They find out that they are having a celebration about their harvest which they had that year.
The meal which was served to the Wampanoag had goofs, swans, pigeons and possibly turkey (not sure). Also, they had plenty of varieties of fishes on their tables such as, eels, shellfish and clams. Flat breads made out of corns were also served as there was no cultivation of wheat at that time, so they used corn flour instead of wheat flour.
The harvest in that year also brought squash. But, pumpkin at that time was not served as a pie; instead it was served with some vinegar, spices and butter. At that point of time those pilgrims cultivated garlic, beans, etc. with some wild dry fruits like chestnuts, walnuts and then raisins from grapes.
The turkey which we enjoy today also has some history. Later around 1100 A.D. was the time when the turkeys because an important food item. But initially it was not the reason of which every home had turkey. They raised them for their feathers, which were used in some ceremonies of that time.
In the manuscript of William Bradford it was noted that waterfowl, ham, lobster, clams, berries, fruit and pumpkins were there. And, other than that turkey was also there.
It was also said that, Abraham Lincoln’s son begged his dad to save the animal. But, apparently it was just a myth. According to that story in 1863, Lincoln’s ten year old son Tad supposedly became fond of turkey. Although it is said that Tad wanted to save the Christmas turkey.
As, in year 1947, Harry Truman started promoting Americans for ‘Poultry less Thursday’. It means they should not eat poultry products on Thursdays. And as thanksgiving is held on Thursday of November since then it was said that pumpkin pie and turkeys should not be eaten on that day as well as on Christmas and New Year’s Day. So, just for that year Pumpkin Pies were not included in the dinner, but turkeys were available.
And at white house also, Pumpkin Pies were not served on dining.
What’s on the table today for Thanksgiving meal