Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The history of Thanksgiving!

Turkey pic is from Google

Like I said in this post here, I was going to do some research on Thanksgiving to find out why in the US we celebrate a meal that was followed by not so nice events.  My idea of thanksgiving was pretty close to what it was, but there is so much more to the holiday.   While doing my research, I went into school mode and wrote over four pages of information, and I felt like that was way too long so I decided to shorten it.  Hopefully, it’s still not too long.  

So, in summary, Thanksgiving as the holiday we celebrate today, really doesn’t have a link to the thanksgiving that was around before Abraham Lincoln.  The day that everyone is taught in elementary school is when the feast happened between the pilgrims and the Native Americans in 1621.  They were celebrating a successful harvest, and invited the Native Americans to feast with them, thanking them for saving their lives.  There was another celebration in 1623, but this one was celebrated in late July. 
The thanksgiving that was around before Lincoln, was colony based.  They decided when to have a day of thanks and they would thank God, Military victories, and an exceptionally great harvest.  The first nationwide celebration was in December 1777, when there was a military victory.  After that the colonies went back to celebrating whenever they saw fit. 
 In 1782, a proclamation was published giving a set date for thanksgiving and in November of that year, the last Thursday of the month, the first set thanksgiving was celebrated.   Even though this was a set date by the House and Senate, some presidents didn’t really acknowledge the date, and yearly nationwide celebration was spotty, until 1863.  That was when Lincoln came in and made Thanksgiving a national holiday. 
Thanksgiving was celebrated every year on the last Thursday of November up until 1939. November that year has five Thursday‘s instead of four, and FDR moved the celebration to the fourth Thursday, because it was better for businesses to have an earlier date. (Back then, it was considered rude to advertise Christmas sales. It also gave more time to shop for presents.)  The following two years Thanksgiving was moved up to the 2nd to last Thursday in November until 1941 when it was made into a federal law that Thanksgiving would always be the fourth Thursday in 
 If you know anything about Thanksgiving, then you know Turkeys are a very big part of the day.  That is because in 1947, the National Turkey Federation donated a live turkey to be killed for dinner.  There were a few presidents that decided that it was best not to kill the turkey.  Kennedy was the first to spare the turkey’s life, then a few years later Reagan gave the turkey a pardon.  A little while later George H.W. Bush made the pardon permanent. 
Other than turkey being the dinner tradition, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, sweet corn, squash, and pumpkin pie are all served.  The reasoning is because all of these foods are native to the Americas/ were introduced to the Europeans. 
The other traditions are parades and football.  There are parades everywhere, but the biggest are the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, and the one in Detroit, America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.   I don’t watch either, but when Thanksgiving is over at my aunt’s house, the football game is on.  At my house we don’t have a T.V. that can be seen in the living room area upstairs, so we just talk. 
Just like I questioned in my original post about Thanksgiving, there is some controversy over celebration a tradition that is so much about the pilgrims.  There are some who do not celebrate Thanksgiving because of that reason, and there have even been some protests against the holiday.  

 I will post about my holiday dinner soon.

**I got all of my information from Wiki, if you find an error, or if I misunderstood what I read, then please tell me.  

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