Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Time for a little history lesson about the holiday. We bet you didn't know all of this!

Thanksgiving is traditionally celebrated in the United States and Canada but these two countries celebrate the holiday at different times. For Canada, it is the second Monday of every October whereas in the United States it is on the fourth Thursday in November. 

In the past, Thanksgiving had roots in religious and cultural tradition, but now it is better known as a secular holiday.
Despite lacking religious integrity nowadays, it is not unusual to participate in prayer before digging into a Thanksgiving feast. The reason for this is to honor a successful harvest. Oddly enough, the harvest season in New England (where praying for harvest originated) ends well before the end of November.

Because it is so poorly documented, “First Thanksgiving” has been somewhat pieced together. What we do know is in 1621 after a successful harvest, Governor William Bradford of Plymouth colony organized a celebratory feast for the Pilgrims and invited their Native American allies (including Wampanoag chief Massasoit). According to journals kept by pilgrims at the time, the feast lasted for three days, although we aren't sure what they ate.

Interestingly enough, most of the Thanksgiving staples we are accustomed to eating couldn't be prepared back then, including pies and desserts the holiday is known for nowadays.

After that, Thanksgiving didn’t happen for another two years. When it did, it was in merriment of the end of a long drought that threatened harvest. 

Although randomly celebrated from then on, it took many years to establish the holiday’s national significance. In 1789 GeorgeWashington acknowledged the issue by creating the first Thanksgiving proclamation.

It wasn't until 1817 that New York officially adopted an annual Thanksgiving holiday while the American South remained unacquainted with the tradition for multiple years thereafter. 

In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale, author of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” among other things, started her 36 year stint of publishing editorials and letters demanding the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. 

Finally, in 1863, Abraham Lincoln issued an official proclamation attempting to unify the Northern and Southern states saying all Americans should give thanks on the last Thursday in November. 

Many years thereafter, in 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday to what it is today initially as an attempt to increase retail sales during the Great Depression. 

In Canada, the origin of Thanksgiving is a little unclear. “Thereis no compelling narrative of the original of the Canadian Thanksgiving day.”  
From what we know, it is traced back to 1578 when explorer Martin Frosbisher survived a long and treacherous journey from England to Canada and wanted to give thanks. 

Some have suggested that Canada’s earlier celebration of the holiday is because of an early onset of winter in the north leading to an earlier harvest season. 
There was not a specific date for celebrating harvest until the late 19th century. Many governors of Canadian provinces celebrated Thanksgiving at various times before the Canadian Confederation.

The first official Canadian Thanksgiving occurred April 15, 1872 when the nation was celebrating the Prince of Whales' recovery from a serious illness.

The Canadian Parliament proclaimed Thanksgiving to be officially observed on its present date in 1957. It was set at the second Monday of  every October.

 Now we can all say we learned something new today! I certainly didn’t know all of that before! 

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Lindy's Landing! We hope you have a truly blessed holiday!


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