Thanksgiving Day Explained

Thanksgiving. A national, cultural day of feast, friends, football, and naps. More recently, young, familyless millennials have adopted and gathered under the banner of “Friednsgiving,” for those living on their own who want impossible amounts of food on Thursday also.

So, whether you live in Argentina, New Zealand, India, or Iceland, you most likely know what the Amercian tradition of Thanksgiving is. If you live in any of these countries: (Australia, Canada, Grenada, Liberia, Netherlands, Philippines, Saint Lucia) You even observe some form of Thanksgiving.

Here is a short catch up to the past 479 years…or so. Ahem…

The idea of days of Thanksgiving started when Henry the 8th tried to get rid of LOADS of Christian holidays. There were like WAY TOO many. Some Puritans even wanted to get rid of Christmas and Easter! Pshhh, Can you imagine?!  These days were to be replaced by Days of Fasting, or Days of Thanksgiving.

SO…Then some Pilgrims and Puritans were like, “Okay, we’re out,” and left England. They sailed to the new land and lost a bunch of people from seasickness or something. It all began as a day of giving thanks as observed decades ago in England. The modern Thanksgiving holiday tradition is traced to a to a well-recorded 1619 event in Virginia and a sparsely documented 1621 celebration at Plymouth. Pilgrims would give thanks to a new land, blessing the harvest, and blessing the preceding year.

We gathered on a giant wooden table and even had the ethnic looking neighbors over! Uncle Rick kept making racist jokes about Indians and kept getting political about James the 6th, ugh. The. Worst. We had tons of food that we cooked all on our own and recieved no help from the locals whatsoever.

Though this was the first recorded Thanksgiving, the feast did not become a tradition until about the late 1660’s. Much later, George Washington proclaimed the first nationwide thanksgiving celebration in America marking November 26, 1789, “as a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.”

Well, there you have it. Thanksgiving. We know and love it well. Whether it’s because it signals for you the start of something truly great…CHRISTMAS!!! Or because you are really looking forward to Aunt Sharon’s Green Bean Caserole….[drool face emoji], or because you get the chance to dust off those cleats and mediocre football skills at the annual Turkey Bowl game….whatever the reason, Thanksgiving holds a place in your heart that is near, dear, and nostalgic.

I find the holiday interesting, as I do with a lot of holidays that I have written about on here in the past, that we wait for moments like a holiday to do what we should have been doing all year long. What do I mean? So glad you asked. Christmas: a season of giving and caring about more than just yourself–Great, let’s do that after Christmas too. New Years: Making goals for yourself–Let’s keep that up afterward too. Thanksgiving: Remembering how much we have to be thankful for–Proceeded almost immediately by trampling soccer moms and buying as much as we possibly can. The holidays make me think about stuff like that and sometimes causes me to reflect on how I’m doing.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE the holidays. Mainly because of how I was raised. We used to have LARGE family gatherings at my mom’s house or my aunt’s house. We would eat food, watch football, play games, eat dessert, and then certain men would retreat to a dining room and play a board game for like 4 hours. They were good memories. Then our families became too large, people moved, new traditions were made, things changed. We knew it would happen. And to be honest, I still carry those holidays with me. I carry them into every holiday gathering I go to. Because what I loved most about those gatherings were the people. A warm house, good smells, laughter, noise, and love. I realize as I age, that I take those key ingredients with me in everything that I do.

When these holidays become more than the people who are in them, when we forget the ingredients that make up the important things in life, we forget the heart…Community. People. Tradition. Memories. Heritage. We need to pass these down so that the next kid running around the house will see the full home, smell the stuffing, hear the laughter, and feel the love…and they will carry those ingredients on with them.

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