Thanksgiving’s Long Tradition in America
While we generally credit the Pilgrims with holding the first Thanksgiving feast in 1621, European explorers to America often held such services, according to the Library of Congress.
In 1541, Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led a thanksgiving celebration at the Palo Duro Canyon, West Texas. In June 1564, French Huguenot colonists celebrated in a settlement near what is now Jacksonville, Florida. In August 1607, English settlers joined Abnaki Indians along Maine’s Kennebec River for a harvest feast and prayer meeting.
During the winter of 1609-1610, colonists in Jamestown, Virginia, had endured great suffering. Of the 490 members of the colony, only 60 survived the winter. The surviving colonists held a thanksgiving prayer service after English supply ships arrived with food, which leads many scholars to consider this the “first Thanksgiving.”
The celebration that gets the most attention is the one that occurred at Plymouth Colony in 1621. The Pilgrims, led by Governor William Bradford, invited the chief of the Wampanoag tribe to join the colonists in celebration of the autumn harvest that October. The chief brought 90 of his tribesman to enjoy a festival that included not only food but also athletic contests and a military review led by Miles Standish.
In the early days of America’s history, several presidents, including George Washington, annually called for a day of thanksgiving. By the early 1800s, that tradition had stopped. However, in November 1846, an editor named Sarah Hale (who also wrote “Mary Had a Little Lamb”) began a letter-writing campaign to establish the last Thursday in November as a national Thanksgiving Day. Her pleas were finally granted in 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln resumed the tradition of Thanksgiving proclamations.
Thanksgiving Day has been observed annually in the United States since then, though it was not until 1941 that President Franklin Roosevelt officially established the fourth Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.
Roosevelt actually caused a lot of national confusion and controversy in 1939 and 1941 by changing the date to the second-to-last Thursday of November to increase the number of shopping days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Today, Thanksgiving remains a day for family and friends to gather together to enjoy food, fellowship, and fun. We’ve compiled 11 quotes to help put us in the right frame of mind this Thanksgiving holiday.
- “Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.” – Theodore Roosevelt
- “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” 1 Chronicles 16:34
- “I do not think of all the misery, but of the glory that remains. Go outside into the fields, nature and the sun, go out and seek happiness in yourself and in God. Think of the beauty that again and again discharges itself within and without you and be happy.” – Anne Frank
- “Your friend is your field which you sow with love and reap with thanksgiving.” – Kahlil Gibran
- “Count your blessings, name them one by one, Count your blessings, see what God hath done!” – Johnson Oatman, Jr.
- “Thanksgiving Day comes, by statute, once a year; to the honest man it comes as frequently as the heart of gratitude will allow.” – Edward Sandford Martin
- “We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing.” – Dutch Hymn, 1597
- “Gratitude is the inward feeling of kindness received. Thankfulness is the natural impulse to express that feeling. Thanksgiving is the following of that impulse.” – Henry Van Dyke
- “Give thanks in all circumstances.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
- “The thankful receiver bears a plentiful harvest.“ – William Blake
- “I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.“ – Henry David Thoreau
Your friends at Duffey Realty are thankful for you and we wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving!
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