Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving day!!

I would like to greet everyone especially to all my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving day!! More blessings and graces to come!! God bless us all!!

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I am sharing a little history about the first thanksgiving..courtesy of Random History

The First Thanksgiving

The tradition of Thanksgiving in the United States is now four centuries in the making. The first Thanksgiving Day is considered by most to have been celebrated as a result of the first bountiful autumn harvest in the Plymouth Colony of modern-day Massachusetts. The Pilgrims who crossed the Atlantic landed into a bleak November winter and saw half of their numbers perish during the course of the cold season, as food was in short supply after the long journey. Having had better luck through the subsequent summer, the grateful people “established a day of thanksgiving and invited the local Indians to share their bounty” (Appelbaum 1984).

In Charles Schulz’s A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving (1973), the familiar story is succinctly told by Linus Van Pelt in a Thanksgiving dinner blessing: “In the year 1621, the Pilgrims held their first Thanksgiving feast. They invited the great Indian chief Massasoit, who brought ninety of his brave Indians and a great abundance of food. Governor William Bradford and Captain Miles Standish were honored guests. Elder William Brewster, who was a minister, said a prayer that went something like this: ‘We thank God for our homes and our food and our safety in a new land. We thank God for the opportunity to create a new world for freedom and justice.’”

While Brewster’s tidy benediction is apocryphal, it nevertheless captures the sentiment and religious spirit of the holiday. It is true that the pilgrims shared a celebratory harvest meal with the natives that included New World crops planted with the assistance of the interpreter Tisquantum (or Squanto, who also helped negotiate a peace treaty that lasted for 50 years). The traditions of that meal also remain embedded in the modern sense of Thanksgiving, but they are not the only ones that belong, and that day of harvest celebration was not a day of thanksgiving in the Puritan and Protestant Separatist sense—but it has been appropriated as one, the first one (Appelbaum 1984).

Governor Bradford was quick to call days of thanksgiving when they were warranted. In the first three years, the pious colonists used these “holy days of solemn prayer” to try to inspire divine grace for the struggling colony. The first proclamation came with the first autumnal harvest, and another followed a day of fasting and prayer that was called in a subsequent summer to try to supplant the devastating drought with life-bringing rain. Bradford called a day of Thanksgiving on that June 30, 1623, a day sometimes cited as the first Thanksgiving, given its appropriately reverent quality.

Other “first Thanksgivings” that occurred throughout the New World contribute to the tradition, though these days were usually not intended to be annual, let alone a day late in November. The Massachusetts Bay colonists similarly arrived too late to properly prepare for the winter. They, however, had the opportunity to send a ship back to England for supplies. When the ship was delayed, the colonists feared the worst. After many difficult months, Governor John Winthrop “convert[ed] grim necessity into an act of piety” by declaring a day of fasting and prayer for the already starving colonists (ibid). By chance, on that twenty-second day in February set aside for the fast, the ship returned and the day was changed to one of thanksgiving.

Elsewhere in the New World, Francisco Vásquez de Coronado offered a thanksgiving service on behalf of abundant supplies of food and water in western American territory as early as 1541, while French Huguenots in present-day Florida “sang a psalm of Thanksgiving unto God” in 1564. Days of thanksgiving were also offered in the early Maine settlement of the Plymouth Company charter, as well as in the first permanent English settlement at Jamestown early in the seventeenth century. But the most clearly articulated intent of early settlers to celebrate an annual Thanksgiving came at the Berkeley Hundred colony in Virginia where Captain John Woodleaf included in their charter a designation for the day their ships safely arrived to “be yearly and perpetually kept holy as a day of thanksgiving to Almighty god.” Alas, that colony was devastated by an Indian attack and abandoned within three years of the charter (ibid).



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