Well, here’s another holiday, so I thought I’d look into it in more depth to see what I can find. So far, there hasn’t been a holiday that has stayed true to the original meaning or intent, I wonder what I’ll find with Thanksgiving. By the way, I’m talking about the United States of America’s Thanksgiving. So, here we go ….
Did you know …
Canada has a Thanksgiving day too? I didn’t know that. It’s celebrated on what is our Columbus Day. There are other places that have a Thanksgiving as well. Interesting.
Did you know …
The first Thanksgiving is in some debate? It was either in Florida by the Spaniards in 1565; by settlers in Berkeley Hundred, Virginia as early as 1607; in Jamestown, Virginia in 1610; or by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Plantation, Massachusetts in 1621.
Which one is our modern holiday centered on? The one in 1621 of course. O.o
Did you know …
That no matter which “first” Thanksgiving you go back to the reason is the same? Each one of them was specifically set aside for giving thanks to God. This is what Captain John Woodlief said at the first Thanksgiving held at Berkely Hundred, Virginia in 1607:
“We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God.”
Ok, so I’m a little confused, we have proof of a Thanksgiving held in Berkeley Hundred, Virginia and what was said at it, but our modern holiday (and school system) teaches the first Thanksgiving was held by the Pilgrims?? Things that make you go hmmmm.
Did you know …
There was a massacre in 1622 by Indians in the Virginia area and those who escaped moved to Jamestown. Interesting enough Captain John Smith wrote that the Indians:
“came unarmed into our houses with deer, turkeys, fish, fruits, and other provisions to sell us”.
Then Indians used anything in the house available to kill off the people. Wow, ok, so our modern traditions trace back to the 1621 Thanksgiving in Plymouth, MA. The massacre happened in March, 1622 in VA and Indians brought with them the very items that were at the “First Thanksgiving.” Hmmm…. I wonder if they were invited back for Thanksgiving in 1622? I guess since it happened over 618 miles apart, it wasn’t a factor. Just thought it interesting. O.o
Did you know …
There was an English speaking Indian there? I’ve heard people talk about this, how did they communicate. Well, there you have it. Squanto learned English as a slave in Europe and during travels in England. So, they had a translator.
At any rate, the Indian’s did help the colonist by donating food during the first winter when supplies brought from England were not enough. So Pilgrims set aside a day to celebrate at Plymouth after first harvest, in 1621. BUT, it was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals existed in English and Wampanoag tradition alike. Oh bother (said in Winnie-the-Pooh voice). So we skip over real Thanksgiving observances and pick the one that wasn’t as the one to base our modern holiday on? Confusaled here? ha! *shakes head*
Did you know …
That the earliest settlers were just as concerned about keeping religion out of their state affairs as people are today? NOT!!! I find it funny that some historians point out the 1623 Thanksgiving as being significant because it was the first ordered by civil authority and not the church. It was ordered by Governor Bradford and this is what he wrote:
“And afterwards the Lord sent them such seasonable showers, with interchange of fair warm weather as, through His blessing, caused a fruitful and liberal harvest, to their no small comfort and rejoicing. For which mercy, in time convenient, they also set apart a day of thanksgiving… By this time harvest was come, and instead of famine now God gave them plenty … for which they blessed God. And the effect of their particular planting was well seen, for all had … pretty well … so as any general want or famine had not been amongst them since to this day.”
I guess it was just our more modern day politicians and “founding fathers” that wanted to keep it separate huh? Like George Washington who in 1789 designated the first Thanksgiving Day by the national government of the US. Here is the beginning of what he wrote (I added the bold and italics, of course, you knew that cause they didn’t have those back then right? heheh):
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness. Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best. Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
How come that isn’t in the text books?? Hmmm I guess times changed. And it really was the later politicians that wanted the separation. Like John Adams who signed the Constitution. When he was president, he wrote the following proclamation in regards to Thanksgiving Day:
As the safety and prosperity of nations ultimately and essentially depend on the protection and the blessing of Almighty God, and the national acknowledgment of this truth is not only an indispensable duty which the people owe to Him, …
I have therefore thought fit to recommend, and I do hereby recommend, that Wednesday, the 9th day of May next, be observed throughout the United States as a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupations, offer their devout addresses to the Father of Mercies agreeably to those forms or methods which they have severally adopted as the most suitable and becoming; that all religious congregations do, with the deepest humility, acknowledge before God the manifold sins and transgressions with which we are justly chargeable as individuals and as a nation, beseeching Him at the same time, of His infinite grace, through the Redeemer of the World, freely to remit all our offenses, and to incline us by His Holy Spirit to that sincere repentance and reformation which may afford us reason to hope for his inestimable favor and heavenly benediction;
Look more of them up, most refer to the Almighty God and giving thanks to Him. Again, hmmmm.
Did you know …
Our traditional foods really aren’t that “traditional?”
Turkey – well, there was a written account of the first holiday and the word fowl was mentioned. Turkeys may or may not have been there. There is a little debate of this. Poor turkey, seems to always be in the middle of a controversy.
Stuffing – yes there was stuffing, but it was made of herbs, onions or oats.
Cranberry Sauce – cranberries yes, as a sauce, unlikely. They were used to add tartness to a sauce, but not alone as a sauce. Curious question, why is it called Cranberry Sauce when it’s more like Cranberry Jello?? Isn’t Sauce supposed to “pour” out? haha
Mashed or Sweet Potatoes – word is they were there, but not a staple in the diet and may not have been apart of the fest.
Pumpkin Pie – yeaaahhhh…no. Pumpkins yes, pie no.
Well, I think that’s enough Thanksgiving Day History for now. One thing I know, we have traveled a long way from the original Thanksgiving day, regardless of which one you pick as the first. God sure isn’t the reason for the holiday on a National Level as He was back when. And as sad as it is, He really doesn’t seem to be the focus of most Christians on that day either.
So will God be invited into your Thanksgiving Day at the main course? Or will He just be another side dish this year?
Happy Thanksgiving and may God bless you abundantly throughout the year!