Thanksgiving is a national holiday celebrated in Canada and U.S. This one of a kind festival has religious roots and secular outlook. Its a festival that joins people together by the mutual feeling of gratitude and celebrations.
It is a festival celebrating new harvest like Onam in south India, or chathh in Bihar!
The history of thanksgiving is as old as 1621, when a group of religious separatists sailing in a small ship called Mayflower, organised a three day festival to celebrate their first corn harvest. This group of people was also known as ‘Pilgrims’and they invited the local american natives to the celebration.And this three days celebrations is now remembered as American’s first thanksgiving.
But this thanksgiving did not become an annual celebration until more than 200 years later, infact the first thanksgiving was not even repeated in subsequent years. It was only in 1789 that President George Washington declared the first thanksgiving holiday and called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion of their war of independence.
It was only in the 19th century that the Thanksgiving was declared as a national holiday after nearly 45 years of campaign to restore the first thanksgiving feast, launched by the famous writer Sarah Josepha Hale best known for her nursery rhyme “Mary had a little lamb”. In 1863, amidst the civil war; president Abraham Lincoln finally gave in to her request and announced thanksgiving day on the final Thursday every year.
The tradition remained there untill 1939 when President Franklin Roosevelt moved it up a week to benefit the retail sales during the Great Depression. This plan also known as Franksgiving 😛 was met with huge opposition and had to be restored to the original final Thursday every November in 1941.Where it proudly stays till date.
The thanksgiving tradition is marked by a huge thanksgiving meal made up mainly of turkey, the pumpkin pie,deer meat better known as Venison , and potatoes.
It is interesting to note that apart from Venison none of the menu appears in any reference to the first thanksgiving, not even the turkey 😛 they were all drafted and published by Sarah during her campaign for thanksgiving.since then turkey remains the staple food for the fest and are also part of the meals now organised for the less fortunate by the American society .
The turkey also led to the quirky tradition of pardon to a turkey by president George H.W. Bush in 1989 and since then other presidents have been a part of this tradition, where they send one or two turkey to the farm instead of the kitchen. 😛
This celebration of showing gratitude and a prayer of thanks before the big meal has been accompanied by several parades and marks the beginning of holidays every year. Saying thanks was never this exciting, easy or delicious.
So on 26th November this year get ready to say thanks, enjoy some great food and celebrate the interesting festival of Thanksgiving with all this facts from us!