Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving: history & practice

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the third Thursday of November. Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for family, friends and loved ones, as well as a time to give to those in need.

The tradition of Thanksgiving began in 1621 when the Plymouth settlers arrived from England on a ship called the Mayflower. The Settlers left England escaping religious persecution and looking for a new life. The Settlers arrived in Massachusetts Bay and began settling a town they called Plymouth. When these Settlers arrived they were welcomed by the Native Americans who taught them how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, catch fish in the rivers and avoid poisonous plants.

The Settlers, commonly known as Pilgrims, had a rough winter. They stayed on their ship for the whole winter until spring arrived. Once spring arrived the Natives helped them adjust to a new lifestyle of agriculture and hunting. The Pilgrims had a successful harvest the fall after their arrival in Massachusetts Bay. To celebrate their first Harvest in November the Pilgrims decided to invite all the local native tribes (Abenaki Indians and Wampanoag Indians) to a feast. This marked the first Thanksgiving. The celebration of a good harvest transformed into the tradition of giving thanks. 

On November 26, 1789 George Washington the first President of the United States, officially announced Thanksgiving to be a holiday. Since then the United States has been celebrating this day as a holiday, with a dinner consisting of turkey as the main dish. Traditionally, every year, a turkey is pardoned by the U.S. President; the turkey is then set free to roam around in a farm for the rest of its life. Thanksgiving is a day of remembrance and giving thanks. Enjoy your weekend off and give thanks for all you have this year!

Happy Thanksgiving from NYLC!

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