Thanksgiving is a beloved American holiday celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November every year. On this day, delicious food is prepared and all the family members gather around the table and enjoy the tasty food together and say what they are grateful together. But What is the main purpose of Thanksgiving? Let us talk about the history and the purpose of Thanksgiving in this article.
Purpose of Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving originally originated as a harvest festival. It has been celebrated as a national holiday since 1789 but after the proclamation of Congress by George Washington it has been celebrated as a Federal holiday since 1864.
Furthermore, the then President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed the holiday as “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens”.
The “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by Pilgrims after the first harvest in the new world October in 1621.
The celebration had a grand feast which lasted for 3 days and as per the attendee Edward Winslow, the celebration was attended by 90 Native Americans and 53 Pilgrims.
How did the first Thanksgiving happen?
The religious refugees from England also known as the pilgrims invited the Native Americans to a fest in 1621. In the previous year, 1620 all the crops of the pilgrims were failed and half of the pilgrims starved to death.
To their luck, the Wampanoag tribe taught them how to farm and they grew Corn, Beans and Squash popularly known as the three sisters.
The feast lasted for 3 days and it also included goose, lobster, deer and cod. Evidently, Turkey was not on the menu.
The main reason behind celebrating Thanksgiving is to give thanks for one’s blessings and to host feasts to celebrate the harvest.
One must follow the practice of gratitude, giving and sharing with the less fortunate. Not everyone is as lucky to have a roof over their head, clothes to cover their bodies and food to fill their stomachs.
Give to the poor and feel blessed.
Thanks giving is one of the most traditional and old holidays in the United States of America. The families follow the traditions of the holiday. Some follow the old traditions and some follow their own traditions. Let’s see what are the common traditions of this festival.
Travelling to meet the Family
Most of the people stay away from the family and they have to travel to meet their loved ones. Hence, making it the one of the traditions. They travel by car, train or a plane. Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year.
Some families observe the tradition of breaking the wishbone. The wish bone is found in the breast meat in the chest of the turkey. As the meat has been removed and eaten. The bone becomes dry and brittle and two people from the family take one end of the bone and pull. It breaks by pulling and which ever member of the family gets a bigger piece of the bone gets a wish.
The Turkey Pardon
The President of the Unites States, receives a live Turkey each year and an alternate turkey if in case anything happens to the original turkey. Then the President pardons the turkey and all the other turkeys so that they can live the rest of their lives on a farm.
Giving and Sharing
Most of the people take this opportunity to help out the less fortunate. They volunteer at the homeless shelter and serve food while the others donate to the homeless shelter. Some people even donate canned food to the homeless in the canned food drives. This holiday truly means giving and sharing with others. This tells us that the main purpose of Thanksgiving is to actually give and share.
Some families choose to serve a vegetarian dinner instead of a turkey dinner. Few of the families serve a vegetarian turkey made out of tofu. Some really vegetarian families decide to celebrate this holiday with squash, salads, fruits and other vegetables.
To Sum it Up
Thanksgiving has a lot of rich history and the purpose of Thanksgiving is to be thankful for what you have been blessed with. Different people follow different traditions but the spirit they celebrate this holiday with never changes. Let us all be thankful and grateful this Thanksgiving.