Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Day.

If you'd try to understand why United States and Canada celebrate a Thanksgiving Day every year, just don't ask New Yorkers. I spent my last week trying to investigate about the origin of this celebration asking people if they knew something about it. Nothing. I mean a lot of them tried to tell me crazy stories, inventing some strange stuff happened somewhere couple of hundreds years ago. I decided to find my own information on the matter and i admit i couldn't find any clear explanation of the origins anywhere i checked out. Wikipedia give us different options to date the first Thanksgiving Day: 1565, was celebrated on September 8 when Pedro Menendeza and other 600 Spanish settlers landed at what is now St. Augustine, Florida. They didn't loose any time and once realized they were alive in the new world they started right away with dances and feasts. First Thanksgiving. But guys from El Paso, Texas, think different, they're sure the first Thanksgiving is their one on April 30, 1598 when Spaniard Don Juan de Onate ordered his expedition to rest (nobody knows after what) and organized a mass in celebration of thanksgiving. That's it? Second Thanksgiving. Bah. The third option we have is December 4, 1619 when 38 English settlers arrived at Berkeley Hundred -Jamestown - where the first permanent settlement of the Colony of Virginia was established. Like the first two, this Thanksgiving is dedicated to God to thank Him they could be able to get there still alive. The fourth option is dated 1621 when Squanto a Patuxet Native American taught the pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them... wait, how could he know English? Just because he previously spent some nice years in Europe covering as a slave. The pilgrims set a day to celebrate right after the first harvest of 1621. This was the very beginning, then we have the 1777, during the American Revolutionary War the Continental Government appointed one or more Thanksgiving day per year, each time recommending to the executives of the various states the observance of these days in their states. After that, many Presidents started to proclaim Thanksgiving day different days in different years: George Washington (Nov. 26th 1789 and again 1795), John Adams (1798 - 1799), no Thanksgivings under Jefferson, James Madison (1814 and twice (?) in 1815). In the middle of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. So, starting from 1863 the last Thursday of every November has been dedicated to Thanksgiving, President Roosevelt broke this tradition in 1939, just because that year there were 5 Thursdays and Roosevelt decided to celebrate the fourth and not the traditional last. He couldn't wait, so from that the official date of the Thanksgiving Day is the fourth Thursday of every November.
I hope I've been clear enough and now that everyone of us know what kind of celebration is this, we can easily start to forget the reason why this country (and Canada) invented it. The reason why and when this celebration had been invented is not that important like the meaning that the simple world Thanksgiving brings, so let's start to think at this celebration in a new or more modern way: Thank to all the people that everyday fight to save animals, Thank to all the people working in Africa for children and families, Thank to all the organizations like Medicins Sans Frontieres or GreenPeace, Thank to all the people that Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Thank to all the people strong enough to advocate Human Rights anywhere they're threatened, Thank to all the people that don't live for money, Thank to all the people that is sensible to problems of other people, Thank to all the people that will write a comment suggesting a reason why to thank somebody....
Thank you for your time and attention.

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1 comment:

kk said...

I am thankful for my parents who gave me a strong foundation in life. I am thankful for my sisters, whose kindness, laughter and concern for me and others bring great joy to my life. I am thankful for Antonia, my closest friend, who has been by my side through thick and thin - and who gently pushes me to be all that I can be and never less than who I am. I am thankful for Tessa, whose fierce loyalty I have felt and seen in her gentle heart. I am thankful for Jenny, who rises to the occasion without question or prodding. I am thankful for Aimee, who was a true and unwaivering friend of mine for 33 years, but whom, because of my own stubborn nature and fragile heart, I haven't been speaking to, over something I intend to remedy. I am thankful for all the wonderful and beautiful friends I keep close to my heart. And finally, I am thankful for you and the kindness you have shown me and my family. And for your writing that makes me smile and think each morning with my coffee.

Happy Thanksgiving.