- In 1621, Pilgrims held a feast in Plymouth Colony to celebrate their first harvest. False. Nobody knows for sure. Historians know of harvest celebrations each year, early on shared by the colonists and local Indians.
- The Pilgrims dressed in black and white and wore buckles on the their shoes. False. Both men and women typically wore a variety of colors when they dressed up in the 1600’s and it was unheard of to wear black and white. And NO, there were were no BIG buckles on their shoes.
- Americans have always eaten Turkey at their Thanksgiving feasts because that is what was served at the first Thanksgiving. False. In the mid-1800’s author and magazine editor Sarah Hale started the idea of a Thanksgiving holiday similar to what we celebrate today. She used her popular Godey's Lady's Book of recipes to promote turkey and stuffing, pumpkin pie and cranberries along with other traditions that had nothing to do with the colonists. She successfully lobbied President Lincoln, who in 1863, declared Thanksgiving an annual holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November every year.
- After the first Thanksgiving in 1621, Americans have been celebrating Thanksgiving every year since. False. Early on the different colonies celebrated their own days of thanksgiving during the year. In 1789, George Washington made Thursday, Nov. 26, a Thanksgiving holiday, but only for one year and the holiday continued to be sporadic. Lincoln’s fourth Thursday held until 1939 when President Roosevelt changed it to be the third Thursday of November primarily to help the economy by making the Christmas shopping season longer. There was so much opposition to the move that two years later he changed it to the fourth Thursday in November.
- The Thanksgiving holiday is uniquely American. True. The Thanksgiving holiday celebration fits perfectly into the story of American history. To be thankful to God for the abundance of this great land was only natural for our forefathers and making it a national holiday made perfect sense. Over time other countries followed suit. More and more, however, due to the expanding commercialization of Halloween and Christmas, it is a holiday that could get lost. But as Rotarians we can do something about that by embracing the idea of having a mindset of being thankful year round.
Saturday, November 22, 2014