Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Thanksgiving a day of Thanks

When we talk about Thanksgiving the traditional celebration feast automatically comes to our mind, in its entire splendor and grandeur. The annual occasion of Thanksgiving is in fact considered as a day of feast, celebrate and give thanks. Contrary to the popular belief, pumpkin pie, cornbread, roast turkey and all the Thanksgiving paraphernalia we see on the Thanksgiving dinner table do not owe their roots to the original meal of the pilgrims.

In 1621 a harvest festival was celebrated by the colonist (or pilgrims) to thank God for saving their lives and guiding them through the journey on the Mayflower and the following years of drought at Plymouth. The harvest meal has become a symbol of cooperation and interaction between English colonist and Native Americans. Native American groups throughout the Americas, including the Pueblo, Cherokee, Creek and many others organized harvest festivals, ceremonial dances, and other celebrations of thanks for centuries before the arrival of Europeans in North America.

Historians believe that on that Thanksgiving day almost 400 years ago the menu consisted of venison, roasted not stuffed turkey, wild fowl including duck, geese and even swans, fish, lobsters, pumpkin in some form, squash, beans, dried fruits, some sort of cranberry sauce and dried Indian maize or corn. Their sugar supply, brought over from the Mayflower was nearly exhausted by the time the first Thanksgiving , so it is widely surmised that wheat pudding may have been one of the only sweet dishes served

The pilgrims used many spices, including, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and dried fruit in the meat sauces they prepared. Many of the meats were put on a spit and turned over five or six hours at a time to ensure it was evenly cooked. They did not have ovens, so pies, cakes and breads most likely did not make it to the first Thanksgiving dinner table at Plymouth plantation.

Today we enjoy delicious meals served in a warm home, possibly a football game can be heard on a near by TV set. Although there are many differences between the first Thanksgiving in 1621 and the holiday we celebrate today, the one tradition that remains constant is the celebration of being thankful.

The date and location of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention. Though the earliest attested Thanksgiving celebration was on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida, the traditional "first Thanksgiving" is venerated as having occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621.

George Washington during his first year as President, issued this historic proclamation that Thursday, November 26 as "A day of public Thanksgiving and prayer, and signed by Washington on Oct. 3, 1789. The first recorded Thanksgiving observance was held on June 29, 1671 at Charlestown, Mass. by proclamation of the town's governing council. October 3, 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation for observing the fourth Tuesday of November as the national holiday. In 1939 President Roosevelt moved the holiday to the third Thursday of November (so the Christmas shopping season was extended). After a storm of protest in 1941, again the holiday returned to the fourth Thursday of November. Today, it is celebrated the second Monday of October in Canada and on fourth Thursday of Nov. in the United States.

Sorry this was so long, but I like to get all the facts I can in. I am wishing all my friends a Happy Thanksgiving. We do live in a country that lets each one of us observe this day as we wish, and I am glad I live here in the USA, God Bless each of us and this great country.


A New Beginning said...

A very Happy Thanks giving to you Margaret! Thanks for sharing such an informative post:)

Anonymous said...

Happy thanksgiving to you and your family. May you live long with a happy family. I like your profile


A Happy Thanksgiving Day Margaret, such an informative blog as always and a pleasure to read. We in the UK don't have a thanks giving day as such, I suppose the nearest we get is Harvest, when we thank God for all the crops, fruit and vegetables.
Have a nice day.

Tea said...

I really enjoyed this post! Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and I love all the food, family and thanksgiving together.
Thank you for the history on it!

chubskulit said...

Thanksgiving nowadays is so commercialized that its taking away the true essence of the occasion.

I apologize for not visiting so often these days Ms. Margaret, we are getting ready to move in three weeks and we are packing our stuff here and there.

Thank you so much for casting your vote which led to Rylie's Victorious Smile.

Merle said...

Dear Margaret ~~ Very informative post as usual
and the meals are so different to the earlier ones
but they all served to show Thanksgiving. We should all remember to be thankful for all the good things we have in our lives, and for God who blesses us all so much.
Thanks for stopping by and I am glad you liked my Basket with the Petunia in it and also the jokes.
I hope your week is going well as mine has so far.Take great care my friend and be safe.
Love, Merle.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hi Margaret:)


Very interesting and informative post. While reading the post, I remembered Cain and Abel, the first brothers in the Bible who gave thanks to God with their produce. I think Cain offered sheep and Abel gave his best harvest of food crops. God was pleased with Abel's offering while He was not satisfied with Cain's. Cain became jealous and killed Abel.

We don't have Thanksgiving day in India but we have harvest festival stretching for a period of three days.

Happy Thanksgiving day Margaret:)

Patty said...

A very Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. Another interesting article. Thanks for sharing.


Thanks for the visit and comment, I didn't mind saying what you said. He don't bother with his brother( who is in remission from cancer) or his sister and my grandchildren, He may be selfish, too busy with his life but at the end of the day he is my son.......and I love him.


Becky and Gary said...

I love reading your posts Margaret. This one about Thanksgiving is wonderful. We all have so much to be eternally thankful for given the quandry this world is in. We live in an incredible country.
Have a wonderful day.

Gramma Ann said...


Even though I don't celebrate holidays, I always enjoy reading about the history of how holidays originated. I don't set aside any one day for giving thanks, I try to do that every day, as I'm sure you do also. That was a very interesting article, and I can see you did quite a bit of research before posting it.. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Have a nice week-end.


Linda said...

Another fascinating history lesson from you Martha. Were you a History teacher? You should have been, as you always make it interesting.

I'm glad that I didn't live back in the time of the pilgrims - hard times for sure. And I'll take the feast and festivities of today's Thanksgivings.

Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family... it's coming up so soon, but first my Dad's Birthday, my Parents Anniversary and my Birthday have to occur. It's a busy month. ♥


Hi Margaret,
I love learning from you :)
I have been to St.Augustine,FL to see the fort and the old town.
Happy Thanksgiving to You and your family.
Deb :)

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