Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all !!!

Dear All,

The tradition of Thanksgiving in the United States commemorates the celebration held in 1621 after the first harvest by the Plymouth Colony. The Pilgrims who traveled from England on the Mayflower landed on December 21, 1620. The harsh winter claimed about half their number. The local Wampanoag Indians, who were friendly to the newcomers, furnished seeds and taught them how to plant corn. The corn and the crops grown from the seeds they had brought with them produced a bountiful harvest. Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day to celebrate the harvest. The celebration brought together the colonists and the Indians, who were led by their chief Massasoit. The colonists provided wild turkey and fish. The Indians contributed deer to the feast.

The custom of observing a day of Thanksgiving spread throughout the colonies, but was celebrated on different dates. America celebrated a first nationwide day of Thanksgiving in 1777 with the victory in Saratoga.  In 1789 President George Washington proclaimed a National Thanksgiving Day in honor of the new United States Constitution.

In 1846 Sarah Josepha Hale, author of “Mary had a little lamb” and America’s first female magazine editor of a magazine called Godey’s Lady’s Book, began a campaign to have a national Thanksgiving Day for all Americans to give thanks on the same day, writing letters to the Nation’s Presidents.  When the country became divided by Civil War she appealed to President Abraham Lincoln to finally establish a National Day of Thanksgiving.  Understanding the potential to help heal the nation’s wounds, in 1863 he proclaimed Thanksgiving Day holiday on the last Thursday in November.

During the Twentieth Century Thanksgiving evolved into becoming the traditional start of the Christmas shopping season.  This month long shopping extravaganza became crucial to American businesses and economy.  So much so that in 1939 President Franklin Roosevelt moved Thanksgiving up by a week to extend the shopping season and boost the country’s languishing economy.  Some states implemented the so called “Franksgiving” while others refused to change Lincoln’s original date.  Congress settled this dispute in 1941 declaring the official Thanksgiving holiday to be the fourth Thursday in November, which is not always the last Thursday in November.

Ever since Thanksgiving has been a favorite American tradition, a time for family and friends to come together to count our blessings by sharing an elaborate meal including turkey and pumpkin pie, to watch parades and football games and to get ready to begin the Christmas shopping.

Today in the US we celebrate Thanksgiving Mass where we read Luke’s Gospel about Jesus healing ten lepers at the entrance of a village travelling through Samaria and Galilee on his way to Jerusalem.  One of the ten, a foreigner, came back in Thanksgiving, glorifying God.  Jesus wonders out loud, “where are the other nine?”  For us today this causes to reflect upon going with the majority not necessarily being the right thing to do.

A complete text of the readings at:

The First Reading from the Book of Sirach from the third century Before the Christian Era in the Second Temple period of Israel is a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to the God of all who had done wondrous things on earth and wishes for peace to abide among you.

In the Second Reading Paul gives thanks to God on account of the Corinthians for the grace bestowed on them, and on us.

With God’s Love and Blessings,


1 comment:

  1. What a nice summary of the establishment of the Thanksgiving Day as a national day of celebration. This is the first time I hear it, or at least I register it, and how important it is to do thanksgiving on a daily basis.

    My son was asking me if there is a thanksgiving celebration like this in Mexico?

    Yes there is! And it takes place every day, with serious cooking and family and whoever happens to show up, gathered around the table in prayer and thanksgiving. That was one of the many traditions we are sadly loosing here in the US with so many moms having to go to work seeking the daily bread; that is not what brides promised on the wedding day. How we all change with time!

    I am very thankful I got to experience those very loving meals with my family on a daily basis while I grew up. And I know my family still does it, especially during the weekends because it is easier, including cousins and friends. And during the week, whoever can meet for breakfast, lunch or dinner they do, still having a lot of fun, nieces and nephews are included. What a blessing!

    So, I am very happy there is a special day here in the US to celebrate our thanksgiving with friends and family, lovely!