Happy Thanksgiving

21 11 2007

Thanksgiving is a perfect time to count our blessings. Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving and many relaxing days with plenty of Turkey! Here are some facts about Thanskgiving:

Thanksgiving was a centuries-old tradition held by most cultures around the world. After the autumn harvest, communities held 3-day-long feasts, sharing meat, bread and drinks. Today, Thanksgiving is known best as a U.S. public holiday.

The first U.S. Thanksgiving was held between September 21 and November 11, 1621 in Massachusetts by 50 Plymouth Pilgrims and their 90 Wampanoag neighbors. After that, Thanksgiving was held fairly randomly. Thanksgiving days were proclaimed annually by the U.S. Congress from 1777 to 1783 which, except for 1782, were all celebrated in December. George Washington declared Thanksgiving in 1789 and 1795, and John Adams in 1798 and 1799. James Madison declared Thanksgiving twice in 1815. None of these were celebrated in the autumn.

The next national Thanksgiving was declared only in April 1862, by Abraham Lincoln. In 1863, he declared Thanksgiving for August 6th, and for the last Thursday in November. He went on to declare a similar Thanksgiving observance in 1864, establishing a precedent that was followed by Andrew Johnson in 1865 and by every subsequent president.

After a few deviations of the day of celebration – Thanksgiving was held on December 7th in 1865, and November 18 in 1869 – the last Thursday in November was proclaimed as the national Thanksgiving day, but still not a officially holiday. Thanksgiving remained a custom unsanctified by law until President Roosevelt signed a bill on November 26, 1941 that established the fourth Thursday in November as the national Thanksgiving public holiday.

Turkey is the traditional dish for the Thanksgiving feast. In the U.S., about 280 million turkeys are sold for the Thanksgiving celebrations. There is no official reason or declaration for the use of turkey. They just happened to be the most plentiful meat available at the time of the first Thanksgiving in 1621, starting the tradition.

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