The reason why Americans annually celebrate Thanksgiving Day is that they implore God to continue and confirm the blessings they have experienced.
By Anna Kim
Thanksgiving Day is one of the most wonderful holidays for Americans to celebrate.
There is so much to catch up on when family members get together on that day and they relish cooking and sharing with one another a bountiful meal with turkey, a Thanksgiving staple.
Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day and how was it established as an official holiday?
The pilgrims, who left England on September 6th, 1620 for civil and religious liberty, arrived in Massachusetts in late November. Unprepared for the starvation and sickness that came with the harsh winter, nearly half died before spring.
However, persevering in prayer and assisted by helpful Native Americans, they reaped a bountiful harvest the following summer. The grateful Pilgrims held a three day feast to render thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings. This was America’s first Thanksgiving Festival.
Pilgrim Edward Winslow depicted the pilgrims’ Thanksgiving as follows: “Our harvest being gotten in, our Governor sent four men on fowling [bird hunting] so that we might, after a special manner, rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. Many of the Native Americans came amongst us and their great King, Massasoit, with some ninety men, went out and killed five deer, which they brought.”
On November 1st, 1777, by Act of Congress, the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation was declared. The third Thursday of December, 1777 was thus officially set aside.
On January 1st, 1795, the first U.S. President, George Washington, wrote his famed National Thanksgiving Proclamation: “It is our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to the Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced.”
On October 3rd, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, by Act of Congress, an annual National Day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. President Lincoln says in the proclamation: “We have forgotten God. We have forgotten the gracious hand which preserved us in peace and multiplied and enriched and strengthened us, and we have vainly imagined, by the deceitfulness of our hearts, that all these blessings were produced by some superior wisdom and virtue of our own.”
This tradition to pay gratitude to Almighty God was descended to the present times. Many American households prepare Turkey, a signature dish of the holiday, along with stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie to share with family members and the unprivileged, although the current celebration has lost much of its original religious significance.
In the political phase, beginning in the mid-20th century, the President of the U.S.A. has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, breaking free from the massive slaughter. A number of U.S. Governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.
Family members relish cooking and sharing with one another a bountiful meal with turkey, a Thanksgiving staple.
On October 3rd, 1863, Abraham Lincoln proclaimed, by Act of Congress, an annual National Day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. <Photo=currentevent.in>