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About Thanksgiving Day
Each year, Thanksgiving Day is an opportunity to reflect on all of the things we are thankful for. From our family and friends to the little pleasures that make life more enjoyable and keep us grounded, it’s important to recognize them during this special day. Celebrations vary according to different traditions, but there seems to be a universal appreciation for good food surrounded by those we love. As we give thanks for all that we have, Thanksgiving Day reminds us of the value of slowing down and taking a moment to appreciate our blessings.
The First Thanksgiving
Contrary to popular belief, the first Thanksgiving was not held in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The first recorded official thanksgiving took place in October of 1621 when Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving to celebrate the colony’s safe arrival and first harvest in Plymouth. However, it is worth mentioning that the Pilgrims most certainly were not the first Europeans to offer thanks for a bountiful harvest. Thanksgivings were regularly celebrated in Europe long before the Pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower in 1620. So what made this particular thanksgiving so special?
A National Holiday
It wasn’t until 1863, during the Civil War, that Abraham Lincoln declared Thanksgiving an official national holiday to be celebrated every November. In his proclamation, Lincoln called upon Americans from all walks of life to come together and express their gratitude for the many blessings they enjoyed as a nation. He stated: “No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Highest God. We have been the recipients of His boundless mercies. it is meet and right to be here assembled.’”
Though Lincoln’s proclamation did much to solidify Thanksgiving as a national holiday, it was not without its critics. Some felt that declaring Thanksgiving a national holiday was inappropriate during such a divisive time in our nation’s history. However, others saw it as a much-needed opportunity to bring Americans together in spite of their differences.
Whatever side of the debate you find yourself on, there is no denying that Thanksgiving has become an important part of American culture. Each year we take time out of our busy lives to sit down with our loved ones and give thanks for all that we have been blessed with. And isn’t that what Thanksgiving is really all about?