A Brief History of Thanksgiving

 The first Thanksgiving was observed the fall of 1621. Governor Bradford decreed there should be a day of thanks to celebrate harvest.(1)

During colonial days thanksgiving was celebrated after the fall harvest however there was no uniform observance until October 1777. In 1789 George Washington became the first president to declare a Thanksgiving holiday.(2)

Journalist Sarah Josepha Hale campaigned for a national observance of Thanksgiving for about forty years. In 1863 in an effort to unite the country President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a day of thanksgiving.(3)

In effort to increase the Christmas shopping season President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving to the third Thursday of November from 1939-1941. Due to public outcry congress passed joint resolution returning Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday of November. (4)

Notes

  1. Damon Goldsmith, Thanksgiving History, [available on-line http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgturkey1.html last accessed 17 November 2007. ]
  2. Ibid.
  3. Jerry Wilson, The Thanksgiving Story, [available on-line http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm, last accessed 17 November 2007.]
  4. Ibid.

Thanksgiving Traditions

Today’s article is about the traditions and symbols of Thanksgiving. I know that many families have their own special traditions. For my husband’s family Thanksgiving was about eating a lot of food and watching the Cowboys play. Thanksgiving for my family was a little bit different. Earlier in the week it usually included the annual church Thanksgiving dinner. Thanksgiving Day was about family and what we did depended on who was hosting Thanksgiving. According to About.com the top 5 family Thanksgiving traditions include: turkey dinner with all the trimmings, football, parades, turkey wishbone, and giving thanks.(1)

So did the Pilgrims really eat turkey for the First Thanksgiving? Well, maybe. The pilgrims used the term turkey to refer to any form of wild bird. It may have been a goose or duck. (2) The “lucky break” or playing tug a war with the wishbone is a tradition that pre-dates American observances of Thanksgiving. The person who gets the bigger pieces of the bone is supposed to have good luck. (3) Another turkey related tradition is the annual presidential pardon. Some sources claim this tradition began when President Lincoln pardoned his son Tad’s pet turkey. Other sources site President Truman as the originator neither tradition can be substantiated. (4).

Ok, so maybe the pilgrims didn’t eat turkey. They had to eat pumpkin pie, right? They did eat pumpkin however it wasn’t pie. By the, this time their supply of flour was long gone, so they did not have anyway to make the crust. They couldn’t just go to the store and buy a ready made crust. (5)

One of the favorite Thanksgiving traditions in our house was to watch the Macy’s Parade. However the first Thanksgiving Day parade was held in 1920 by Gimbel’s Department Store in Philadelphia. (6) The Macy’s Parade has been a tradition since 1924. 1927 heralded the arrival Macy’s first balloon, Felix the Cat. The parade took a break during World War II. It post-war return in 1945 was the first parade to be broadcast. (7)

Football is a Thanksgiving favorite with many Americans.. The first recorded Thanksgiving Day game occurred in 1876. It was the first intercollegiate championship game. (8)

Notes

  1. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  2. Jerry Wilson, The Thanksgiving Story [available on-line http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm, last accessed on 19 November 2007.]
  3. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  4. Borgna Brunner, Presidential Pardon [available on-line http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgturkey2.html, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  5. Jerry Wilson, The Thanksgiving Story [available on-line http://wilstar.com/holidays/thankstr.htm,, last accessed on 19 November 2007.]
  6. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  7. John Gettings, Thanksgiving Day Parade [available on-line http://www.infoplease.com/spot/tgparade.html,, last accessed 19 November 2007]
  8. Kimberly Powell, Top 5 Family Thanksgiving Traditions [available on-line http://genealogy.about.com/od/holidays/tp/thanksgiving.htm, last accessed 19 November 2007]

Top 10: Reasons to be Thankful

#10: No broken bones this year.

#9: Rediscovering how much I enjoy painting.

#8: For music.

#7:  For a job that I’m good at and my recent promotion.

#6: For having a nice home, a good job and more than enough food to eat. The very basic things in life that many do not have.

#5: For my church family. Living so far away from families our church family has become an important part of our lives.

#4: For friends who are there period. Heard someone talking about how friend’s were untrustworthy and couldn’t be counted on. I thought that this person had not met my friends.

#3: For my family. I have come to realize just how blessed I am to have my family.

#2: For the Big Guy.

#1: For God’s unconditional love. I don’t have to earn His love or salvation. For that I’m extremely grateful because I would fail on both counts.

Happy Thanksgiving

Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:3-5 (NIV)

Well At Least I Can Walk …

I had intended to post something each week that I’m thankful for however life has caused me to get sidetracked or rather sidelined. Last week I fractured my ankle, same one I fractured years ago only this time it really hurt.  For those of you who know me there is really no story this time just tripped and rolled my ankle. The ankle ordeal has given me a new perspective on thankfulness.

I am thankful that I do not need surgery and in only a week I’m up and walking with that funky boot.  It was rough being stuck in bed or on the couch for a few days.

I am thankful that The Big Guy is patient and taking care of me.  He really has been a big help and has kept me laughing. Last weekend our trip to the immediate care clinic was a source of amusement.

I am thankful for a friend who brought us a meal. Normally, I have no problem putting a decent meal together but this week a PBJ sandwich has been a stress.

I am thankful for a friend from church who helped me out Monday and Tuesday when I was still non-ambulatory. For someone who is usually independent needing help this week has been a humbling experience.

I am thankful for family and friends who prayed for a quick recovery. I didn’t have a miraculous instantaneous healing but things could have been much worse.  I think that sometimes it is too easy to focus on the big attention getting miraculous and forget that there might be a lesson in things like a broken ankle.

…give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. I Thessalonians 5:18 NIV

A Time For Thanksgiving

Thankfulness is a quality that I often lack. In keeping with the years theme of Make a Difference, I’ve decided it is time for an attitude adjustment. Inspired by Thanksgiving this month I have decided to write at least one post each week focusing on thankfulness.

In 2008 I lost a job that I really enjoyed and excelled at due to the economic downturn. The past year and a half have been a struggle. For about a year I was only able to find a part time job. When I did find a full-time job it was far below what I had been making. In October I finally, received a promotion to position that both good pay and benefits. So, far I am enjoying the job. The potential for future advancement is also there. While this is not the career path I have envisioned I am very thankful for both a good job and one that I enjoy.

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

Let the Festivities Begin!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:17 (NIV)

First Christmas Song of the Year

For me the Christmas season does not start until after Thanksgiving. I love Christmas music and play it almost non-stop from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. If you don’t believe me just ask The Big Guy. Like last year I will be posting Christmas songs throughout the Christmas season.

I am starting with one of my favorite songs Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring by J.S. Bach. In my opinion it is second only to The Hallelujah Chorus by G. F. Handel. This version is preformed by Celtic Woman.

Jesu, joy of man’s desiring,
Holy wisdom, love most bright;
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light.
Word of God, our flesh that fashioned,
With the fire of life impassioned,
Striving still to truth unknown,
Soaring, dying round Thy throne.

Through the way where hope is guiding,
Hark, what peaceful music rings;
Where the flock, in Thee confiding,
Drink of joy from deathless springs.
Theirs is beauty’s fairest pleasure;
Theirs is wisdom’s holiest treasure.
Thou dost ever lead Thine own
In the love of joys unknown.