Ahhh, so we meet again, holiday season. Another year has flown by and here we are again. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and next thing you know, we’re ringing in the New Year.
Well, let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Thanksgiving is right around the corner. A little break from school, some time to spend with our loved ones, and let’s not forget…. some amazing food! The turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie. YUM!
What’s NOT to love about Thanksgiving?
Where did this tradition originate anyway? And why do we celebrate it every fourth Thursday of November?
Let’s back up to the year 1621….
This was the year that the “First Thanksgiving” took place. It actually wasn’t just one meal either. It was a three-day festival in honor of the Pilgrim’s first successful corn harvest. Contrary to what most of us have learned, they didn’t celebrate with pie, mashed potatoes, or even turkey (they probably didn’t have stuffing either)! It also didn’t become an annual celebration after that first thanksgiving.
Although they celebrated the second Thanksgiving two years later after a long drought, it wasn’t until 1789 that George Washington declared November 26th as Thanksgiving. Some of the presidents after him designated days as Thanksgiving as well.
New York, in 1817, was the first state to celebrate it as an annual holiday, and several states followed. Each state that celebrated Thanksgiving celebrated it on different days.
Fast forward to the next decade. I’m sure everyone is familiar with the nursery rhyme, “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” The author, Sarah Josepha Hale, who is known as the “Godmother of Thanksgiving,” was [you guessed it] the person who widely campaigned to make Thanksgiving happen. For 36 years, she contacted whomever she had to by publishing editorials and writing letters in order to have Thanksgiving established as a national holiday. Finally, after almost 40 years of persuasion, Abraham Lincoln, in the midst of the civil war, declared that Americans should ask God to,
Commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
He also made it official that Thanksgiving would take place every fourth Thursday of November. Although FDR tried to move Thanksgiving up a week for retail purposes during the Great Depression, the people protested this action, so he moved it back to its original place.
Since then, Thanksgiving has been celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November and many traditions arose (the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, NFL games, amazing FOOD, Black Friday, etc.).
A Thanksgiving tradition that I believe is most important, however, is thanking God every day for all the amazing things He’s done for us.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. For the LORD is the great God, the great King above all gods. Psalm 95:2-3
Hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving holiday!
Marketing and Social Media Intern