Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Nov 19, 2021 | Blog | 0 commentaires

Thanksgiving is celebrated in the United States on the 4th Thursday of November. The purpose of Thanksgiving Day is to be thankful for all the blessings from the past year. It is celebrated with family and friends who mean the most to you.

Thanksgiving is also celebrated in Canada, Liberia and in some of the Caribbean islands. In Canada, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October. In Liberia, it is celebrated on the first Thursday of November. Thanksgiving Day is marked by parades in many cities across United States. An important part of the Thanksgiving celebration is American football. Over the Thanksgiving weekend many sports events such as basketball, golf, and ice-hockey matches are organised.

First Thanksgiving
In 1620, the Pilgrims (members of the English Separatist Church) left their country England on a ship called Mayflower. Their treacherous and uncomfortable journey lasted 65 days. The Pilgrims arrived at Plymouth Rock in America and established a village. The first winter was brutal and only half of the people who set sail on Mayflower survived the hunger and dreadful diseases. The following spring, Native American, Squanto taught the settlers how to catch fish, hunt and cultivate corn. He served as an interpreter and helped the settlers forge a friendship with Wampanoag Tribe. The leader of the tribe, Massasoit provided food to the Pilgrims during winter when their supplies brought from England became scarce.

In 1621, the harvest was plentiful. The governor of the Pilgrims decided to celebrate with a feast because they were grateful for the abundant harvest. The Native Americans were invited to this feast which lasted for three days. The Pilgrims did not yet call this feast Thanksgiving. This first feast of the Pilgrims contained birds, games, fish, seafood, fruits and, vegetables. Modern-day Thanksgiving dinner in Canada and the United States has much the same food except for seafood. Roast turkey is the centrepiece of the contemporary Thanksgiving dinner. In fact, sometimes Thanksgiving is also called « Turkey Day. » Other food items commonly served include mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, apple pie, etc. Chicken is the centre of thanksgiving food in Liberia.

Thanksgiving became a National Holiday
On 3rd October 1789, George Washington made the proclamation and created the first national Thanksgiving Day on Thursday, 26th of November. But, Thanksgiving was not always observed in November. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln officially declared Thanksgiving to be celebrated on last Thursday of November. Succeeding Presidents continued to observe the final Thursdays of November as Thanksgiving Day. However, Roosevelt changed the tradition in 1939 as there were five Thursdays that year. He declared 23rd November, the fourth Thursday, as Thanksgiving Day which created considerable controversy. In 1941, President Roosevelt signed a bill and made the law officially making the fourth Thursday of November the national holiday of Thanksgiving Day.

Inspiring journey

Pilgrims faced harsh conditions in the New World with courage and faith. They overcame challenges and prospered in that new land with the help of the Wampanoag tribe. They were thankful to God for the mercy and blessings bestowed on them.

Celebrating Thanksgiving may not be part of one’s tradition however, we can still remember to say thanks and count our blessings!  In the spirit of Thanksgiving, let us reflect on our good fortune and blessings this year. We can take a moment to be grateful for the care and protection we have received from the Divine. Also, let us remember those who have helped us in various ways. In a cheerful manner, we could offer to be of service in our communities.

Wish you a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!