We are one week away from one of the biggest holidays in the United States that brings families together for times of joy, happiness, being thankful for all blessings and, of course, great food.
What is this holiday and why do we celebrate it?
Thanksgiving Day is a good day to recommit our energies to giving thanks and just giving. ~Amy Grant
History of Thanksgiving
102 Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower ship in what is now known as Plymouth, Massachusettes, on November 11, 1620. The Pilgrims were a group of Puritans who traveled to what is now the United States to escape religious persecution in England.
When they arrived, they were met with many unknown certainties and an upcoming winter which proved to be difficult. They had no homes, shelters and the land was not ready for crops. Life was hard. The local Native Americans befriended the Pilgrims and helped them survive.
Thanksgiving was a meal following the first autumn harvest of the Pilgrims and the Native Americans as a celebration of the successful establishment of the colony and the recent harvest.
Continuing the tradition of celebrating a successful harvest season and all that we are grateful for, Thanksgiving has been observed in the United States since 1789.
It was made a federal holiday in 1869 and is to always be observed on the last Thursday of November.
Fun Fact: Canada celebrates their own Thanksgiving on the second Monday of October to celebrate the harvest and good blessings for the past year.
What’s Typically Served?
- Turkey! Can’t forget the turkey!
- Potatoes which could be prepared in various forms; mashed, scalloped, roasted, baked
- Vegetable dishes such as carrots, green beans, corn and brussels sprouts
- Cranberry sauce
- Biscuits/dinner rolls
- Pumpkin, pecan or apple pie
Thanksgiving has the running theme of giving thanks. Being close to the New Year, it’s a great opportunity to give thanks for all the year’s blessings. It could be the blessing of a new child, health, career, new home, new car, anything you are thankful for.
It’s also a great time to give back or even pay forward the blessings. Giving back could include volunteering at a homeless shelter, food kitchen or just donating time or money to a great cause.
Check out this article from Coca-Cola on great ways to give back this Thanksgiving.
Are You a Mayflower Descendent?
It’s estimated that there are over 35 million descendants from those who came over on the original Mayflower in 1620. Could you be one of them? Check out this article from Family History Daily to learn more.