Thursday, November 24, 2016

History of Thanksgiving

My to-do list was long this morning (Thanksgiving Eve), and became longer when I looked out the window at the snow that had piled up overnight. While my husband fired up the snow-plow truck, our granddog, Bear, and I started shoveling the front patio. The snow was so thick and heavy, and snowman perfect, that I decided rolling it into large balls for a snowman would be easier than shoveling. So that is what I did, with Bear at my side the entire time. (Bear is a 115 lb yellow lab. He gets dropped off at our house every morning around 7:00 and is picked up every evening around 6:30. We love having him around as much as he loves being here.) We still had plenty of shoveling to do after assembling the balls, and after that, we added the finishing touches to our snowman. It wasn't until I put the gourds in for the snowman's eyes that Bear truly took notice of the creature.

The rest of the day has been full of prep work for tomorrow, and I'm glad I took the time to make the snowman this morning. The grandchildren are going to be surprised to see him standing in the yard when they arrive tomorrow.
AND because I still have a few things to accomplish, I'm recycling a blog I'd posted about the history of Thanksgiving a couple of years ago.

As many of us were taught, the first Thanksgiving took place in the fall 1621. It was a three day feast of thanks hosted by the Pilgrims and a local tribe of Wampanoag. Intermittent days of thanks continued for the next hundred and fifty years, often celebrating an event, good harvest, or end of a time period, such as a drought or battle. In 1777, George Washington declared the last Thursday in November as a ‘national day of public thanksgiving and prayer’ which all thirteen colonies celebrated, particularly giving thanks for the new constitution of the newly formed nation. The next national day was declared in 1789, by then President George Washington. However, it still didn’t become a ‘yearly’ celebration, until 1863.

For over 40 years, Sara Josepha Hale, the author of Mary had a Little Lamb, advocated for an annual day of Thanksgiving, and during the Civil War while looking for a way to bring the nation together, President Abraham Lincoln consulted with Ms. Hale prior to issuing the Thanksgiving Proclamation that declared the last Thursday of November (based on Washington’s date) as a national holiday. 

75 years later, in 1939 retailers begged President Franklin D. Roosevelt to change Thanksgiving to the second to the last Thursday of the month, therefore giving people more shopping days before Christmas. He did so, but the confusion didn’t settle well with the county. Calendars were off, schools vacations had to be rescheduled, and yes, even football games reorganized. Many believed the reason of the date change was not a fitting cause and controversy split the nation. 23 states agreed to change the date, and 23 states refused. Colorado and Texas chose to celebrate both days. Even though businesses reported no real direct change in shopping, the two Thanksgivings (with states choosing which to observe) continued until 1941 when congress passed a law declaring Thanksgiving as a national holiday that would occur on the fourth Thursday of November every year. 

So, there you have it.

History and controversy aside, for me, Thanksgiving brings family to mind. If I live to be a hundred, nothing will ever replace the sweetness of the word “Grandma!” I am thankful for so much, every day of my life—for living in a wonderful country, for freedom, for my right to worship God, for all the obvious and not to be taken lightly things which include my family, home, community, friends, vocation, my publishers and their belief in me, and especially the people who read and find delight in my books. 

Thanks for sharing this wonderful life with me.

My Thanksgiving wish is that each of you reading this blog has a blessed and beautiful holiday. 

Lauri Robinson

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the snowman. I made one snowman in my life, when I was a Junior in high school in Levelland, Texas. Never made another one, either. I did enjoy your observations about your dog. They are amazing, aren't they?
    I wish you and your family a lovely holiday, and God bless you all.


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