About theThanksgiving Day
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. In Canada, Thanksgiving falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the United States. Because of the longstanding traditions of the holiday, the celebration often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated.
Thanksgiving in North America had originated from a mix of European and Native traditions. Typically in Europe, festivals were held before and after the harvest cycles to give thanks for a good harvest, and to rejoice together after much hard work with the rest of the community. At the time, Native Americans had also celebrated the end of a harvest season. When Europeans first arrived to the Americas, they brought with them their own harvest festival traditions from Europe, celebrating their safe voyage, peace and good harvest. Though the origins of the holiday in both Canada and the United States are similar, Americans do not typically celebrate the contributions made in Newfoundland, while Canadians do not celebrate the contributions made in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
The origin of the first Thanksgiving in Canada goes back to the explorer Martin Frobisher, who had been trying to find a northern passage to the Pacific Ocean. Frobisher's Thanksgiving celebration was not for harvest, but in thanks for surviving the long journey from England through the perils of storms and icebergs. On his third and final voyage to these regions in 1578 Frobisher held a formal ceremony in Frobisher Bay in Baffin Island in present Day Nunavut to give thanks to God and in a service ministered by the preacher Robert Wolfall they celebrated Communion, the first ever service in these regions.Years later, the tradition of a feast would continue as more settlers began to arrive in the Canadian colonies
The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving can also be traced to the French settlers who came to New France with explorer Samuel de Champlain in the early 17th century, who also took to celebrating their successful harvests. The French settlers in the area typically had feasts at the end of the harvest season and continued throughout the winter season, even sharing their food with the indigenous peoples of the area. Champlain had also proposed for the creation of the Order of Good Cheer in 1606.
As many more settlers arrived in Canada, more celebrations of good harvest became common. New immigrants into the country, such as the Irish, Scottish and Germans, would also add their own traditions to the harvest celebrations. Most of the U.S. aspects of Thanksgiving (such as the turkey or what were called Guineafowls originating from Madagascar), were incorporated when United Empire Loyalists began to flee from the United States during the American Revolution and settled in Canada.
Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving Day?
"All ye Pilgrims with your wives and little ones, do gather at the Meeting House, on the hill… there to listen to the pastor, and render Thanksgiving to the Almighty God for all His blessings."
This is the origin of our annual Thanksgiving Day celebration. Congress of the United States has proclaimed National Days of Thanksgiving to Almighty God many times throughout the following years. On November 1, 1777, by order of Congress, the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation was proclaimed, and signed by Henry Laurens, President of Continental Congress. The third Thursday of December, 1777 was thus officially set aside:
"…for solemn thanksgiving and praise. That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor;… and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot them (their manifold sins) out of remembrance… That it may please Him… to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth of 'righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost'…"Then again, on January 1, 1795, our first United States President, George Washington, wrote his famed National Thanksgiving Proclamation, in which he says that it is…
"…our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue is… our duty as a people, with devout reverence and affectionate gratitude, to acknowledge our many and great obligations to Almighty God, and to implore Him to continue and confirm the blessings we experienced…"Thursday, the 19th day of February, 1795 was thus set aside by George Washington as a National Day of Thanksgiving.
"…announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations are blessed whose God is the Lord… But 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… It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice, by the whole American people…"
Author: Catherine Millard. Text excerpted from A Children's Companion Guide to America's History, Horizon House Publishers, Camp Hill Pennsylvania. Used by permission. Supplied by Eden Communications. Copyright © 1995, 1999, All Rights Reserved