Thanksgiving Day, the annual national holiday in the United States celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year. Thanksgiving is modeled on a 1621 harvest feast shared by the English colonists (Pilgrims) of Plymouth and the Wampanoag people. This American holiday is particularly rich in legend and symbolism, and in terms of travel is often the busiest holiday of the year, as family members gather with one another.
As we enjoy this holiday week and take a break from technology to spend quality time with friends and family, I thought it would be interesting to remember the history that brought us this great tradition.
The New England colonists were accustomed to regularly celebrating “Thanksgivings,” days of prayer thanking God for blessings such as a military victory or the end of a drought. The U.S. Continental Congress proclaimed a national Thanksgiving upon the enactment of the Constitution, for example. Yet, after 1798, the new U.S. Congress left Thanksgiving declarations to the states. Some states objected to the national government’s involvement in a religious observance, Southerners were slow to adopt a New England custom, and others took offense over the day’s being used to hold partisan speeches and parades. In its beginning a national Thanksgiving seemed more like a lightning rod for controversy than a unifying force.
Thanksgiving Day did not become an official holiday until Northerners dominated the federal government. While sectional tensions prevailed in the mid-19th century, the editor of the popular magazine Sarah Hale, campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day to promote unity. She finally won the support of President Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, Lincoln proclaimed a national day of thanksgiving to be celebrated on Thursday, November 26. (As cited in Encylopedia Brittanica)
Today Thanksgiving is not only an entire day devoted to being thankful but its filled with eating, non-stop football, catching up with family and friends you haven’t seen in a while and enjoying all that we have been blessed with. It reminds us to cultivate an attitude of gratitude so that when we encounter challenges and problems in life we will be able to feel and recognize just how much we’ve been given.
Theres no better time to say thank you for your loyalty, trust and confidence. May the good things of life be yours in Abundance!
From all of us at Agility Communications, Happy Thanksgiving!