Kelli is hosting a “Giving Thanks Celebration” at her blog. She said:
Let’s take these next six days (Monday-Saturday) to prepare our hearts and homes for this wonderful time of year.
She has invited any bloggers to join her. If you want to meet some other participants click on the graphic at the top of this post.
For more Thursday Thirteen participants click on the graphic just below.
- Prior to the mid-1800s, Thanksgiving had nothing to do with the 1621 harvest celebration, Pilgrims or Native People.
- Thanksgiving started as a traditional New England holiday that celebrated family and community. It descended from Puritan days of fasting and festive rejoicing.
- The Pilgrims, Wampanoag, and Thanksgiving were first linked together in 1841, when historian Alexander Young rediscovered Edward Winslow’s account of the 1621 harvest celebration. The account was part of the text of a letter to a friend in England, later published in Mourt’s Relation (1622). [1-3 from Plimoth Plantation]
- Sarah Josepha Hale became one of the most famous magazine editors in the United States during the 1800’s. She worked many years to promote the idea of a national Thanksgiving Day. She received credit for persuading President Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. [from Annie’s Home Page]
- According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document [the first Thanksgiving Proclamation] was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops. [from Abraham Lincoln Online]
- The Plimoth Plantation site states that there was probably not pumpkin pie at the 1621 Thanksgiving. They had pumpkins, but no butter or wheat flour to make pie crusts. They especially did not have ovens in which to bake pies.
- They also say that to make the early pumpkin pies the cooks would use the pumpkins like apples and put pumpkin slices in the pie.
- When Franklin Roosevelt was president it was tradition to have Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. During the years of the Great Depression this was somewhat of a problem in Novembers that had five Thursdays. Most people waited until after Thanksgiving to start their Christmas shopping and that left only 24 days for people to shop.
- Roosevelt eventually gave in to the pressure from the business leaders and officially moved Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November. Moving Thanksgiving caused quite an uproar and upheaval across America. Different states started observing Thanksgiving during different weeks which made it hard for families to get together for the holiday. In 1941 Congress passed a law to making the fourth Thursday of November every year the legal day for Thanksgiving. [8 & 9 from FDR Library]
- Many Countries celebrate at harvest time, but only America has a tradition with Pilgrims and Native Americans.
- Canada’s celebration is most similar to ours; partly because of Americans that moved north. Canada has their Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October.
- Cornucopia, is a horn of plenty, a symbol of nature’s productivity. According to Greek mythology, it was one of the horns of Amalthaea, the goat who nursed the god Zeus when he was a baby. In Roman mythology, the cornucopia was the horn of the river god Achelous. The hero Hercules broke off the horn in combat with Achelous, who was fighting in the form of a bull. Water nymphs filled the horn with flowers and fruit and offered it to Copia, the goddess of plenty. [from Annie’s Home Page]
- This tradition of American culture must have seemed bewildering to newcomers. As reformers pondered how to teach new immigrants how to become good Americans, many looked to examples from the past. Since the early 20th century, the Pilgrims and Thanksgiving have been used to teach both new Americans and school children about American history and values. This is just one of many ways that people have looked at the holiday over time. To read more of this article click here to go to the Plimoth Plantation site.
Edited: For those of you homeschoolers out there the site Internet 4 Classrooms has lots of Thanksgiving links.