Thursday, 25 November 2010

Why Are You Thankful?

Today is the day to reflect, not on the negative things in this world, but on all the many things we have to be thankful for. I will tell you mine at the end of this post!
Searching for the origins of Thanksgiving reveals many, many stories. My apologies if I missed something that you feel is vital. Officially, Thanksgiving is always on the fourth Thursday in the month of November. The first Thanksgiving Dinner can be traced back to the 16th century. According to the story, about 102 pilgrims crossed the Atlantic in the year 1620 on a ship named Mayflower. They traveled for nearly two months with extreme difficulty. Due to the terrible storms is is likely that they were kept in the cargo space of the sailing vessel and not allowed on deck.
On December 11, 1620 the pilgrims reached Plymouth Rock. This was not their original destination, but the storms had blown them off course. About 46 pilgrims died that winter due to the extreme  weather. In the spring of 1621, Squanto, a native Indian taught the pilgrims to grow corn, beans and pumpkin for survival. A day of fasting and prayer was called due to the severe drought that summer. Gd answered their prayers, and sent the rain to  save their crops.

In the autumn of 1621, they held a grand celebration to thank God and invited the Indians who had helped them. This communal dinner is popularly known as “The First Thanksgiving Feast”. According to the first hand account written by the leader of the colony, the food included, ducks, geese, venison, fish, berries etc. Some historians claim that because the pilgrims were so religious that most likely it would have been a day of fasting and prayer but most people say that it really was a feast.

Because of the diminished supply of flour that year, they did not have any kind of bread. Pumpkin pie, a staple on every dinner table, is unlikely to have been a part of the first thanksgiving feast, but they did have boiled pumpkin. The feast took place outside due to lack of large enough facilities and continued for three days. There was not another feast until 1623, when there was another severe drought. In the year 1676 Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of thanksgiving. In October of 1777 all of the 13 colonies joined in a communal celebration which also marked the victory over the British.

Events and changes occurred over the years. On May 24th 1830, a little known author, Sarah Josepha Hale, penned the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb". A little known author, Sarah spent 40 years writing to congressmen, lobbying five presidents, and writing countless editorials in her campaign to create an official day of thanks. Finally,  on October 3rd, President Lincoln made his famous Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863 officially making the last Thursday in November the official Day of Thanksgiving. So, there are many reasons for taking a day to be thankful,

I am thankful for many things each and every day of my life, but as I write this article there is one prominent thing that I feel particularly thankful for.

I thank Gd for the brave men and women  serving in Armed Forces all over the world, who even today are putting their lives on the line so we can enjoy things like a Thanksgiving Dinner. Gd Bless you and Bring you safely home to your loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving to You All!

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