Thanksgiving is a wonderful chance to set aside time to spend with our families. It is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. Families gather together and eat a tradition meal of turkey and roast vegetables. They enjoy each other’s company and spend time reflecting on things for which they are thankful. Many take this holiday for granted and are unsure about the reason behind why Thanksgiving is celebrated. So let’s take a look at where this wonderful tradition came from.
Why do we celebrate Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving is celebrated for a number of different reasons. The first Thanksgiving celebration was in 1623. It was a celebration of the bountiful harvest on the Plymouth Plantation. The men, women and children gathered together to give thanks to God for His provision and blessings. They essentially held a church service at the summons of Governor William Bradford. Initially when the settlement began the people did not have enough food to survive. The Native Americans of the area helped the settlers by giving them seeds and teaching them to fish. On Thanksgiving the Plymouth pilgrims would give thanks and remember the goodness of those Native American Indians. Often they would feast together with each party contributing something to feast.
Thanksgiving was set as a national holiday by President Lincoln as a symbol of national unity after the civil war. The first Thanksgiving celebrated by all states on the same day was in 1863 by presidential proclamation. By the beginning of the 20th century most states were celebrating Thanksgiving on the final Thursday of November. This promoted a sense of unity among the states.
Originally Thanksgiving was a holiday set apart to acknowledge and give thanks for the blessings that God has bestowed upon the nation of America. Many of the presidents have included this sentiment in their speeches and asked people to remember the blessings that God had given through the year. Today many people still celebrate this meaning of the occasion, but for the most part, Thanksgiving celebrations tend to have a greater focus on spending time with family or people that are important to you.