Thanksgiving. The day America sets aside for family, for remembrance. First Thanksgiving.
The day America sets aside for family, for remembrance.
The first Thanksgiving celebration held in America occurred in 1619. On December fourth of that year, thirty-eight English settlers arrived at the Berkeley Plantation in Virginia. Part of their original charter stated that they would set aside.
The next recorded celebration is also most famous. Plymouth, Massachusetts, 1621. The first winter the Pilgrims had in the ‘New World’ was a brutal one.
The following harvest season was so bountiful in fact that the Pilgrims decided to hold a feast for celebration and thanksgiving. This’ festival’, which lasted three days, included the participation of nearly 100 Native Americans.
Governor William Bradford
Had invited the natives to show them appreciation, for helping his colony survive through the harsh weather conditions.
The next celebration didn’t occur until 1623. In the hope of bringing much needed rain, they gathered together in a prayer service. As other settlers came to the country, they held their own thanksgiving celebrations, but each celebration was independent of the next.
In 1668 the Plymouth general court tried to bring some order to the celebration by declaring November 25th to be Thanksgiving. It was a proclamation that only lasted within the colony for five years.
How it came to be held on a Thursday is not widely know.
The first thanksgivings were held on Thursday (and in some cases Wednesday) so as to not interfere with the Sabbath. During these times, the Sabbath was an extremely important day;
Saturday was a day of preparation and Monday was out to give the Sabbath it’s proper respect so with these ‘restrictions’ Thursday becomes an easy choice.
The first national celebration of Thanksgiving occurred in 1777.
This one-time only event occurred at this time as a way to celebrate the America defeat of the British at Saratoga.
1930, Roosevelt tried to move the date to slide it forward by a week to extend the Christmas shopping season.
1941, Congress declared the fourth Thursday in November to be the legal Holiday know as Thanksgiving.
It should noted while Thanksgiving has become a holiday deeply associated with America, there have been numerous
‘ harvest’ , autumn, and ‘Thanksgiving’ festivals throughout history including Grecian, Roman and Egyptian celebrations.