Thanksgiving in America by Mabel
In the United States of America, Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday that is celebrated every year on the fourth Thursday of November. Thanksgiving Day is a time when people celebrate and thank God for the harvest and for the other blessings of the previous year. Throughout the month of November, we start planning for our Thanksgiving celebrations that we shall be enjoying soon with our families. Thanksgiving is a special time where we celebrate with our loved ones and give thanks to God for all the blessings He bestowed our nation and ourselves.
On December 21, 1620, the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts, on their ship, the Mayflower. Tragically, a brutally harsh winter covered the land and only about half of them survived. Nevertheless, the next year in 1621, Native Americans from a friendly tribe named the Wampanoag, taught the new settlers how to plant. The resulting harvest was a successful one, and they yielded twenty acres of corn and they also had barley and a good supply of meat. The original Thanksgiving in America was held that same year with ninety Native Americans from the tribe with their chief, Massasoit, who celebrated a three-day feast with the settlers to commemorate their good harvest.
On September 25, 1789, Elias Boudinot of New Jersey proposed a resolution to the United States House of Representatives. He stated, “That a joint committee of both Houses be directed to wait upon the President of the United States, to request that he would recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a
Constitution of government for their safety and happiness.” He did not receive a unanimous agreement from the House of Representatives and they were not completely determined to establish such a holiday dedicated for thanksgiving. However, after citing biblical precedents and the resolutions of the Continental Congress, the supporters of establishing this celebration prevailed, and the House of Representatives appointed a committee. The Senate soon agreed to this resolution as well and on September 26, they appointed William Samuel Johnson and Ralph Izard to the joint committee. Two days later, the Senate committee reported that they had presented the resolution to President Washington. The president issued the proclamation on October 3, 1789, dedicating a day of prayer and thanksgiving.
Nevertheless, until Lincoln’s presidency, Thanksgiving Day was not observed as an official holiday until the Northerners took power in the federal government. While sectional tensions increased in the mid-1800s, Sarah Josepha Hale, the editor of the popular magazine Godey’s Lady’s Book, who campaigned for a national Thanksgiving Day, wrote a letter to President Lincoln on September 28, 1863, encouraging him to establish the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” Finally, on October 3, 1863, during the Civil War, President Lincoln declared a national day of thanksgiving to be commemorated on Thursday, November 26.
Every year, on Thanksgiving Day, my family and I celebrate together and we review the history of how the Thanksgiving holiday came to be in our nation. Thanksgiving Day is truly a day that reminds us of Whom to truly thank for all that we possess. We must indeed remember to thank Jesus for every blessing he bestowed us in the past, in the present, and in the future. We must also remember to thank Jesus for the precious freedom in this great nation that we reside in, for He was indeed the Author of Liberty and the Father of our Founding Fathers.
“May God be merciful and bless us. May His face shine with favor upon us.”
– Psalm 67:1
To read Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, please see the following website:
To read Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, please see the following website:
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2011, Ultimate DVD, “Thanksgiving.”