November 23, 2009

Thanksgiving, Do YOU Know What It's REALLY About?

I heard a person say that school children are taught that Thanksgiving is a holiday, that was originally celebrated to thank the Indians for the help that they gave then Pilgrims. Thus, taking God out of one more thing that He was so much a part of!

Check out this site, which has some really good information on Thanksgiving.

Here is part of what the site says about the Origins of Thanksgiving:
Journey of Pilgrims
The legendary pilgrims, crossed the Atlantic in the year 1620 in Mayflower-A 17th Century sailing vessel. About 102 people traveled for nearly two months with extreme difficulty. This was so because they were kept in the cargo space of the sailing vessel. No one was allowed to go on the deck due to terrible storms. The pilgrims comforted themselves by singing Psalms- a sacred song.

Arrival in Plymouth
The pilgrims reached Plymouth rock on December 11th 1620, after a sea journey of 66 days. Though the original destination was somewhere in the northern part of Virginia, they could not reach the place owing to winds blowing them off course. Nearly46 pilgrims died due to extreme cold in winter. However, in the spring of 1621, Squanto, a native Indian taught the pilgrims to survive by growing food.

Day of Fasting and Prayer
In the summer of 1621, owing to severe drought, pilgrims called for a day of fasting and prayer to please God and ask for a bountiful harvest in the coming season. God answered their prayers and it rained at the end of the day. It saved the corn crops.

First Thanksgiving Feast
It is said that Pilgrims learnt to grow corn, beans and pumpkins from the Indians, which helped all of them survive . In the autumn of 1621, they held a grand celebration where 90 people were invited including Indians. The grand feast was organized to thank god for his favors. This communal dinner is popularly known as “The first thanksgiving feast”. There is however, no evidence to prove if the dinner actually took place.

While some historians believe pilgrims were quite religious so, their thanksgiving would've included a day of fasting and praying, others say that the Thanksgiving dinner did take place.

Turkey and First Thanksgiving Feast
There is no evidence to prove if the customary turkey was a part of the initial feast. According to the first hand account written by the leader of the colony, the food included, ducks, geese, venison, fish, berries etc.

Pumpkin and Thanksgiving Feast
Pumpkin pie, a modern staple adorning every dinner table, is unlikely to have been a part of the first thanksgiving feast. Pilgrims however, did have boiled pumpkin. Diminishing supply of flour led to the absence of any kind of bread.

The feast continued for three days and was eaten outside due to lack of space. It was not repeated till 1623, which again witnessed a severe drought. Governor Bradford proclaimed another day of thanksgiving in the year 1676. October of 1777 witnessed a time when all the 13 colonies joined in a communal celebration. It also marked the victory over the British.

After a number of events and changes, President Lincoln proclaimed last Thursday in November of thanksgiving in the year 1863. This was due to the continuous efforts of Sarah Josepha Hale, a magazine editor. She wrote a number of articles for the cause.

So, what are you doing for Thanksgiving to carry on the tradition of giving Thanks to our God who has brought us out of the bad times? I read recently, that one tradition that some people have is on each of their dinner plates there are a small number of kernels of corn. During the dinner, each member of the family is supposed to, between them and God, take one kernel and thank God for something. When you think of something else you thank God for, you take another kernel off your plate. You continue through the meal to thank God for blessings He has placed in your life, each time taking a kernel of corn off your plate. Until there are no more kernels! I am going to be bringing this into my home this year, I love that you don't name out loud what you are thankful for, you are telling God, the giver of all things, what you are thankful for.

We have also in the past, traced the hands of our boys and made turkeys for each person. On each turkey, we wrote that we were thankful for that person! Then they can take home their own little turkey with the reminder that we are thankful for them!

How are you showing your thankfulness to all of the things in your life, big and small, that God has blessed you with? Thank God for ALL things...

What do you do to make your Thanksgiving dinner special? Or what are you going to do this year?


The Redhead Riter said...

1863 doesnt seem that long ago does it? Look how much technology has changed the world since then. Isn't it mind boggling?

Sarah said...

It really doesn't! The Pilgrims had the FIRST Thanksgiving just a little over 300 years ago! THAT blows my mind too!