Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A History of Thanksgiving

The earliest record of any observance of Thanksgiving within the territory that now comprises the United States was held by the Popham colony settled in Sagadahoe, Maine. That was in 1607.

They did not celebrate the whole day like we do now then it was just an observance that took a few hours.

The real origin of Thanksgiving as a whole day set aside for prayer and rejoicing is attributed to Governor Bradford, The first governor of the Massachusetts Colony. In gratitude for a plentiful harvest in 1621, he proclaimed a day of Thanksgiving, to be observed on December 13th.

History tells that Governor Bradford also sent out four hunters in search of game and it is here, in 1621, that the turkey makes an early appearance in celebrating the day. The hunters were reportedly more than successful, they bagged so many wild turkey's it was enough to feed the little colony for a week.

Through the years a thanks-giving was celebrated if there was sufficient reason. Some years there were two celebrations, and other years there was none.

The Continental Congress recommended eight days of Thanksgiving, divided and celebrated in various months, but they were only recommendations for state governments were far more powerful then and the idea never caught on.

General George Washington issued a couple of proclamations for a Thanksgiving during the revolutionary war, but it was not until 1789, as President, did he issue a proclamation appointing November 26th, as Thanksgiving day, eventually it was celebrated on the last Thursday of November.

Washington's proclamation, incidentally was the first one ever issued by the President of the United States.

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