What I’m Thankful for this Thanksgiving

I am guessing you’re thinking I’m writing a Thanksgiving blog because it is November and Thanksgiving is this month. Maybe you are thinking we are trying to plug our Thanksgiving, Autumn, or Winter flags? Actually, those aren’t correct at all, but if you want to click on those links… 🙂 Actually the reason I decided to write a Thanksgiving blog is because when I came to Wal-Mart today, a “person” was wearing this amazingly tacky sweater and the first thought that came to mind was…I doubt even the pilgrims would have been seen in that during the winter of 1565. In all honesty though, it looks like it should have come with a free bowl of soup. It looks good on her though..

Back to business. So I am excited for Thanksgiving, a time when I get a couple of days off of work, even though I will miss it (The boss is reading). I get to eat as much of grandmother’s food as I can possibly stand and I get to play  football with my family. I know that many of us have our own Thanksgiving traditions, but what were some of the first traditions?

There is actually some controversy of when and why the first Thanksgiving days were celebrated;however, the first recorded day of Thanksgiving in the present United States occurred on September 5, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. That day, 600 Spanish settlers, led by Pedro Menéndez de Avilés arrived and established the first European settlement in the New World. The men and women were so thankful to be off the boat and finally in the New World that they immediately held a feast to give thanks for their safe arrival.

firstthanksgivingAnother similar celebration took place in Plymouth in 1621 to give thanks for their harvest and to give thanks to  Squanto and the Patuxet tribe for teaching them how to grow corn and catch eel. This has generally been regarded as the first true “Thanksgiving” in the US and started a tradition that lasted for many years to come. Throughout the remainder of the 1600’s and 1700’s, many places celebrated their “Thanksgiving” days, yet many times, they were marked by fasting and prayer rather than feasts.

George Washington proclaimed a Thanksgiving Day in December of 1777 following the victory at Saratoga, New York during the revolutionary war. He later proclaimed the first national government appointed Thanksgiving Day on October 3, 1789.

Abraham Lincoln continued this tradition of proclamation and established a general data for Thanksgiving as the 4th Thursday of November. Finally in 1939, Franklin Roosevelt signed a bill to celebrate Thanksgiving Day on the 4th Thursday of November. This remains until today. Whoo, that was a lot.

ThanksgivingFeastHowever you celebrate Thanksgiving, whether it be with family or food or games or relaxing, take time to give thanks for this wonderful country. Lift up our soldiers, our government, and our families. If you have the day off, give thanks for a time to relax. If you have to work, give thanks for your job. My mother always said to give thanks for the things we have and give thanks for many of the things we don’t have. Get ready for black Friday and the shopping season and some people might want to check on deals for new sweaters ;).

One Response

  1. The Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving to give thanks to God, not to Squanto or any other person. No, I never learned that in public school either — the religious basis of American history tends to be overlooked there — but Thanksgiving began as, and always has remained, a fundamentally religious holiday.

    Rob Natelson
    Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence,
    The Independence Institute

    Prof. of Law (ret.), the University of Montana

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