This is the season of giving thanks and showing gratitude for the countless blessings that are bestowed upon us. It is believed that the first Thanksgiving feast occurred in November 1621 in celebration of the Native Americans successfully teaching the Pilgrims how to cultivate corn, extract sap from maple trees, and catching fish. Governor William Bradford organized a celebratory feast after the first corn harvest proved a success with the Native Americans and the celebration was said to have lasted 3 days.
In 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation where he called upon Americans to express gratitude for the conclusion of the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the US Constitution. In 1817, New York became the first of several states to adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday.
Beginning in 1827, author Sarah Josepha Hale began campaigning to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. For 36 years, she continued to be persistent and diligent writing letters to governors, presidents, senators, politicians and anyone who would listen; therefore, earning her the nickname, Mother of Thanksgiving.
Her hard work finally paid off when in 1863, Abraham Lincoln heeded her request in the height of the Civil War. In a proclamation, Abraham Lincoln implored Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” The Thanksgiving holiday was scheduled for the final Thursday in November.
This occurred like clockwork every year until 1939, when Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday a week earlier with attempt to help retail sales during the Great Depression. He was met with much defiance and moved the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November in 1941.
Thanksgiving is normally celebrated with a huge feast with family as we give gratitude for all our blessings. In 2020, for many of us our Thanksgiving will look different. We will not be able to have large family gatherings due to COVID. We will spend Thanksgiving with our immediate families, become creative and join others via Zoom or some other platform. Despite the obstacles there is one thing that will not change we will continue to love on our families and show gratitude for the things that matter most to us in life. We will not be counting dollars, but counting blessings.
From our families to yours...Happy Thanksgiving!