Thanksgiving is celebrated around the World in many different ways. It seems “the Egyptians were thankful to the gods of the Nile for providing water for their crops; the Greeks celebrated with a festival when there was a good harvest; the Romans honored the goddess of grain, Ceres and thanked her for food; the Mayans ate turkey and corn at their harvest festival; the English believed a spirit lived in their crops and celebrated a good harvest; the Chinese believed that the moon plowed the heavens and their ceremony “Chung Ch’ui” honors the good harvest,” just to name a few.
But, historically, Thanksgiving Day celebrates the Pilgrims coming to North America. The very first Thanksgiving celebration took place in 1621. However, there was no regular national Thanksgiving Day in the United States for many years.
History books tell us that a woman by the name of Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of “Godley’s Lady’s Book” worked for 30 years to promote the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day. Besides her columns, she wrote letters to various presidents asking for their support. Then, in 1863, President Lincoln issued a proclamation making the last Thursday of November in that year “a day of thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father.” For 75 years the tradition continued.
Finally in 1939, President Roosevelt “proclaimed Thanksgiving Day to be celebrated one week earlier.” Why? It was suppose to help businesses by extending the shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, Congress finally declared that after 1941 the fourth Thursday of November would be observed as Thanksgiving Day and would be a legal holiday.
Besides delicious home-cooked food, Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday to be celebrated with family and friends. Although we look forward to the traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, yams, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving Day is the perfect time to reflect and be grateful for all of the blessings in our lives.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE!