In most of my columns, I tell you about a food item and give you a recipe. This week I thought I would change it up a bit and talk about a holiday that is very much about food.
When people think about Thanksgiving, they think about turkey, lots of food and football. Some families even take the time to think of something they are thankful for and share it before they overindulge.
Most people know that the first Thanksgiving was in Plymouth in 1621. After the Pilgrims had successful harvest they held a three-day festival and invited the Native Americans to join them. Like all guest with good manners the Native Americans brought venison with them.
After that thanksgiving festival, Thanksgiving Day was not celebrated officially until 1789.
America was new, and its new President Gorge Washington made a proclamation to recommend Thursday, Nov. 26 as a day to be devoted to service and united in the offering of prayers and supplications to the “great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions”.
Washington in 1795 called on the public to have a day set aside for public thanksgiving and prayer
The next official proclamations of thanksgiving came in 1798 and 1799 when President John Adams asked for American citizens to observe “a day of solemn humiliation, fasting, and prayer; that the citizens of these States, abstaining on that day from their customary worldly occupation.”
In 1827, the writer of “Mary had a Little Lamb,” Sara Josepha Hale began a 30-year campaign to have Thanksgiving Day recognized as an annual holiday.
During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln declared the last Thursday of November to be celebrated as a day of Thanksgiving. Congress passed this act in 1863 as a day for Americans to give thanks to the Creator for the blessings and mercies shown to the people throughout the year.
George Bush, Sr. was the first president to pardon a turkey, a tradition that every president since has observed. The lucky turkey is then sent into retirement uneaten. Well why not? If a president can pardon a criminal why not pardon one who has done nothing wrong except to be born a turkey.
As a nation we have moved very far away from how the first presidents thought of thanksgiving
We now show our thanks by making the cooks in our family spend days preparing one meal. Then we indulge in that meal. Then the cooks (usually the women) go and clean while others (usually the men) sit in front of television and watch football.
Now don’t get me wrong I love food as much as the next person. In fact I am very grateful for the nice meal that is prepared, even more grateful when I don’t have to prepare it.
This Thanksgiving, I would like to encourage you to take a few minutes to remember why this day was established and take time to be grateful for what you have. Take time to remember those who have less and are thankful for any kindness given them.
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