Thanksgiving: Grateful for What and To Whom?

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So I see on facebook several amusing and hilarious pictures–memes if you will–floating around. Everything from shoving Santa and his merry Elves back into December where they should stay (and not encroach in November), to being thankful one day a year and then being greedy the following day on Black Friday, when people trample each other to get that thing they could not wait another minute for.

What have we as a society become?

The origins of Thanksgiving began when two groups, the Pilgrims and the Saints, crossed the Atlantic Ocean, forging their way to the New World, that is, America. The two groups were separated by religion, faith, and beliefs. However, upon reaching the New World, they knew that they would have to come together, to unite their forces in order to survive the challenges that lay ahead. This led to a treaty between them.

Once they landed they were confronted by an Indian tribe: the Wampanoag’s. They were quick to establish a friendship and a treaty of peace with the pilgrims, sharing their knowledge in how to plant crops, among other things, such as:

Giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts had always been a part of Wampanoag daily life. From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child. Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations.

 

As with Native traditions in America, celebrations – complete with merrymaking and feasting – in England and throughout Europe after a successful crop are as ancient as the harvest-time itself. In 1621, when their labors were rewarded with a bountiful harvest after a year of sickness and scarcity, the Pilgrims gave thanks to God and celebrated His bounty in the Harvest Home tradition with feasting and sport (recreation). To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude. 

 

Therefore when all the turkey and pre-Black-Friday sales begin to weigh heavily on your mind, don’t forget the real reason behind being thankful–not just for the sake of being thankful, but to whom you’re thankful. Whatever your beliefs, it never hurts to be thankful for what you have.

 

(Citation taken from: http://www.plimoth.org/learn/MRL/read/thanksgiving-history 2003-2013, Plimoth Plantation. November 28, 2013)