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What Thanksgiving all about?


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Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day for those of us in the US. It's a day that celebrates the bountiful harvest of our first settlers, beginning in 1621. In 1863 President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in the month of November as a National day of thanks. Fast forward a several decades, and the day morphed into a day in which family will gather from the far corners of the country and celebrate the homecoming of our doughboys from WWI, remember the war ended on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month. Fast forward several more decades and we have the modern day version of giving thanks, airline hustle and bustle, traffic, TV specials, Macy's parade and of course football. Unfortunately, the retail marketeers have decreed the last Friday of the month of November as the official start of the Christmas shopping season, otherwise referred to as "Black Friday".


So tomorrow, while you are flopped out in your favorite Lazy Boy recliner munching on your third helping of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams and cranberry sauce watching football; just remember to give a moment of thanks to those serving in far away places protecting us and allowing us the good fortune to be able to enjoy a day with our loved ones.


I salute all of those who have served, serving or have friends or family who are serving now. Thank you.

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Here's another thought, too... For those who ain't doin' so well.


I'll never forget one thanksgiving at age 20, feeling thankful for a $5 in my pocket.


Hadda stay in the town where I was going to school, but tossed from the dorm to sleep in the car since my $1.25 an hour job (I'm old, remember?) required me to stay to work the next Friday and Saturday.


Truck stop was open. Gotta hot turkey sandwich, and believe me, I was thankful for it. The next day was payday, and believe me, I was thankful.


In today's economy I think there are quite a few folks in the same situation - willing to work hard, but...


And hey, in ways I'm more "conservative" than neo. But sometimes folks can just plain get stuck. I've even known rich folks who were in situations where any meal at the time and place was something to be thankful for.


Our churches here had some 450 people from all economic strata at a free community thanksgiving dinner. Rich and poor sat elbow to elbow, you hadda chase down one guy to pass on cash if you had some.


Christmas is about the same here. Rich and poor, elbow to elbow, the only place in town outside of home to eat.


I'm thankful for that.



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Nice sentiments indeed.


Of course the real first Thanksgiving happened here in St. Augustine on Sept. 8, 1565 -- more than 50 years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock. [bored]


Regardless, my best to everyone on this holiday of thanks.

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Really??? Spaniards and ??? What were they celebrating?

Elementary school teacher Robyn Gioia has argued that the first recorded Thanksgiving ceremony took place on September 8' date=' 1565, when 600 Spanish settlers, under the leadership of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, landed at what is now St. Augustine, Florida, and immediately held a Mass of Thanksgiving for their safe delivery to the New World; there followed a feast and celebration. As the La Florida colony did become part of the United States, this can be classified as the first Thanksgiving, although it was not a harvest festival.[2'] The Spanish colonial town of San Elizario (San Elceario), near El Paso, Texas, has also been said to be the site of the first Thanksgiving to be held in what is now known as the United States, though that was also not a harvest festival. Spaniard Don Juan de Oñate ordered his expedition party to rest and conducted a mass in celebration of thanksgiving on April 30, 1598.[3]




1619 Thanksgiving, the Virginia colony

On December 4, 1619, 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred, which comprised about 8,000 acres (32 km²) on the north bank of the James River, near Herring Creek, in an area then known as Charles Cittie, about 20 miles (32 km) upstream from Jamestown, where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia had been established on May 14, 1607.


The group's charter required that the day of arrival be observed yearly as a "day of thanksgiving" to God. On that first day, Captain John Woodleaf held the service of thanksgiving. As quoted from the section of the Charter of Berkeley Hundred specifying the thanksgiving service: "We ordaine that the day of our ships arrival at the place assigned for plantacon in the land of Virginia shall be yearly and perpetually keept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty God."[4]




1621 Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims at Plymouth


)The modern Thanksgiving holiday traces its origins from a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. It is this iconic event that is generally referred to as the "First Thanksgiving."


Squanto, a Patuxet Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them (Squanto had learned English while enslaved in Europe and during travels in England). The Pilgrims set apart a day to celebrate at Plymouth immediately after their first harvest, in 1621. At the time, this was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals existed in English and Wampanoag tradition alike. Several colonists gave personal accounts of the 1621 feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims, most of whom were Separatists, are not to be confused with Puritans who established their own Massachusetts Bay Colony nearby (current day Boston) in 1628 and had very different religious beliefs.[6]

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I like how people ar mentioning the real origions of thanksgiving. I have a very cool Highschool history teacher who teaches things the way they actually happened. A cool book for any one interested in history is "Lies my Teacher Told me". You guys should look it up.


Also happy thanksgiving!!!! [biggrin]

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One might make a case that "Thanksgiving" as we know it owes a heck of a debt to Godey's Lady's Book, a popular magazine of the mid 19th century.


Historiography has become pretty political, IMHO. It's something my own study attempts to sidestep. On Thanksgiving, I'd prefer not to go there.


I also can't go for the concept that a mass of thanksgiving for a good journey or whatever is the same as what is practiced today - especially since such masses have been functionally regular occurrences into the modern era.


I could go on, but I think the harvest festival concept is the better precedent. The one of the Plymouth colony seems to be the one on which current practice is patterned. Blame that on Godey's perhaps, along with the non-vegan menu.


One weakness to modern "Thanksgiving" observance is the distance from which so many of us live from the source and efforts leading to the very food that gives us life. Urban realities and modern agricultural economics and transportation draw so many curtains to obscure that simplest of realities.


Don't forget that after a bad year or two of untoward weather in the 1600s, regardless of culture or skin color, people simply died of starvation or suffered diseases of malnutrition. That is a glass through which we should see that simple 1621 observance regardless of subsequent events - and at least one lens through which they saw it.


Today - my thanksgiving among friends was in a little mining town called Deadwood and included fish, beef, ham, turkey and all kinds of trimmings. Although lacking overt prayer at a casino buffet, the spirit was there of thankfulness for what we have.


I think that recognition of the bounty we somehow have received from providence, and from our friendships, is an important gift also to our own good character, regardless of one's theology or lack thereof.



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