Lots of people knows of the story of the thanksgiving day that the pilgrims had with the Wampanoag Indians at the Plymouth Plantation in 1621. They had a rough start with their new adventure in the New World, but with the help of the Wampanoag Indians they survived. So they decided to have a day of thanks giving together with their saviours. To bad their saviours didn't know what laid ahead for them in the future years. I believe things would have been different.
The date and location of the first Thanksgiving is a topic of much debate. The most accepted is mentioned in the above paragraph but there are many other claims of different dates and different locations.
- One claim is on Sept 8th, 1565, in Saint Augustine, Florida. Spanish explorer Pedro Menediz de Aviles invited ( how nice of him ) the Timucua Indians to a meals of thanks.
- Another one is Dec. 4, 1619, a group of English settlers arrived at Berkeley Plantation on James River now known as Charles City, Virginia.
- The year of 1513, the landing of Juan Ponce De Leon in Florida.
- Francisco Vasquez de Coronado's service of thanksgiving in the Texas Panhandle in 1541.
- 2 other claims in Jamestown, Virginia in 1607 & 1610.
- A Canadian claim was Martin Frobishner in 1576 on Baffin Island.
Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thrusday of November, Thanksgiving Day in 1863. Now during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency, Thanksgiving wasn't still a fixed holiday. In 1933, the month of November had five weeks, so Franklin Roosevelt celebrated Thanksgiving on November the 30th because the country was suffering The Great Depression. The business leaders of that time pushed Mr. Roosevelt to moved it one week earlier, but Roosevelt wouldn't be moved not until 1939. Money talks!!! That's when Franklin Roosevelt declared that Thansgiving Day would official be the 23rd day of November.
Well still not everybody was happy about that! Imagine that! Many people were upset that Roosevelt would change a long standing tradition. Schools had to reschedule their vacations because they already had the schedules planned out. Football games had already been planned. Smaller business were upset because they were afraid that the bigger businesses would grap the upper hand at the holiday shopping. So during that year some people had two Thanksgivings. Mr. Roosevelt should understand you can't make everyone happy.
After two years of public outrage Congress finally passed a law on Dec. 26, 1941, ensuring that all Americans to celebrate a unified Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November.
Thanksgiving probably did start off as a religious holiday, but now has become a secular holiday which is mostly celebrated in Canada and the United States. It is celebrated on the 2nd Monday of Oct. in Canada and on the 4th Thurdayd of November in the United States.
I'm sure that the early English, Dutch and Spanish settlers of America had a lot to be thankful for, but let's not forget about the Native Americans. What did they have to be thankful for? stolen lands, diseases and deaths. I try not to celebrate this day as a holiday as it is protrayed in today's society. I don't decorate my home with the usual Thanksgiving decorations, the little statues of pilgrims and Indians side by side in harmony becaue that's not the way it was. I do decorate my home with the theme of a harvest as it originally was celebrated, in my opinion. I do spend the day being thankful for all the things that the Goddess and God has given me; my job(s), my home, my family and friends and etc. Yes, I go and eat a big dinner with my small family and be thankful that I have them. I also take the day, light a candle in memory of the millions of Native Americans that has died and suffered because of the first day when the first European settlers came to America.