Thanksgiving – Fun Fact Friday

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Thanksgiving – An American Tradition

Turkey, pumpkin pie, football – for many Americans that just about sums up Thanksgiving. It is the one day each November we set aside to gather with loved ones, reflect on all the blessings in our lives, and eat one slice too many of our favorite pie. But the original Thanksgiving was much different. We all know that it began with the Pilgrims after they sailed on the Mayflower from England to the New World, yet how did it become what it is today?

Since many of those that sailed on the Mayflower, the Pilgrims, had strong religious beliefs, a day to give thanks was typically a solemn event. Such a day would be set aside for fasting, prayer, and reflection on the goodness of God. Pilgrims, Puritans, and Native Americans alike each had their own versions of Thanksgiving before it ever became a national holiday.

As far as how we celebrate Thanksgiving today, below is a progressive timeline of the holiday:

  • 1621 – What we consider the first Thanksgiving was held as three days of feasting between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoags.
  • 1777 – The first national Thanksgiving was declared by the Continental Congress.
  • 1827 – While each Thanksgiving day was traditionally declared by a President, Sarah Josepha Hale (editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book) lobbied to have it made a national holiday.
  • 1863 – Hale’s efforts proved successful when President Lincoln initiated two days of thanks – one in August and another in November.
  • 1939 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt finally established Thanksgiving as an annual, nationally-recognized holiday. He scheduled the date for the second-to-last Thursday in November.
  • 1941 – Congress pushed the Thanksgiving date to the fourth Thursday in November.

Keeping Up with Tradition

Thanksgiving has come a long way over the centuries. Some years it was celebrated, and some years it was not. Although much of Thanksgiving has changed from the date to the customs, the heart of the holiday has remained the same: reflection and gratitude. This year, don’t stress so much over whether or not you’ll get that Black Friday deal, or if you burned the sweet potato casserole. Be sure to let the people in your life know how much they mean to you and reflect on all the ways God has blessed you. We have so much to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving!

Check out this link for an additional 15 Thanksgiving fun facts! Number 9 explains a lot about holiday traffic…*ick*

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