Yesterday was Thanksgiving. A day to celebrate with family and friends, to cherish the moment and time together. It’s the perfect occasion to show gratitude to the people and everything positive in life. The holiday unites families who hardly see each other due to long distances. For many people it’s almost as important as Christmas. But why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving?
The first Thanksgiving was a festival lasting for three days. It was the Pilgrims who celebrated their first harvest in the new world with Native Americans. Before they arrived in America, the Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on a ship called the Mayflower, because they wanted to practice their faith freely. After a tough first winter in 1620, they were visited by a Native American in the following spring. He could speak English because he was kidnapped by an English sea captain, who sold him into slavery. The American could escape and return home. He showed the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, catch fishes and to avoid poisonous plants.
In fall 1621 the Pilgrims shared an autum feast with the Native Americans to show them their gratitude. They were thankful they helped them to survive and start a new life in America. But it wasn’t an annual holiday back then. After the United States became independent in 1789, George Washington proclaimed a Thanksgiving Day to express the gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence.
In 1827, writer Sarah Josepha Hale launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving a national holiday. She released recipes with turkeys and pumpkin pies which the Pilgrims did not serve on their first Thanksgiving but are now part of the traditional dinner. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day. Since then the holiday is celebrated every fourth Thursday in November. (In 1939 Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up a week in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression but two years later he signed a bill, so Thanksgiving was back to the final Thursday in November.)
These days Thanksgiving is a day to spend with the family. But not everyone can be with them for several reasons. That’s why the so called “Friendsgiving” becomes more and more popular. Spending the day with friends is way better than being alone. And that is the spirit of Thanksgiving. There is so much in life to be thankful for, like having enough food, being healthy, having a place to live and people around who care about you.
I’m thankful for so much, my family and friends, but also the many people I got in touch with online. Everyone I met is part of my life, has influenced me with words or actions or both. My life hasn’t always been easy but it’s part of my path, part of me. I am thankful for the good and the sad times, as they all led me to this very moment.
Thank you for stopping by and reading. I wish you a wonderful, joyful Thanksgiving weekend! Please feel free to share what you are thankful for.