Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pilgrims Establish Thanksgiving After Doing Away With Christmas, 1919

“Origin of Thanksgiving as a Great Social and Religious Festival Lost in Antiquity” by Rev. Thomas B. Gregory, as printed in the Rockingham Post-Dispatch, November 26, 1919

The great social and religious festival known as Thanksgiving dates back to the Pilgrims and Puritans of New England. The sentiment of gratitude for favors granted is as old as humanity, and ages before the Massachusetts settlers were born mankind was in the habit of expressing its thankfulness by some form of public celebration. But the institution of Thanksgiving as an annual festival of thanks and praise for blessings received at the hands of the Great Author of our being had its origin among the founders of New England.

For reasons which were “good and sufficient” unto themselves, the Puritans abolished Christmas, and feeling the need of some other day to replace it, they instituted Thanksgiving day. After the first harvest of the New England colonies Governor Bradford ordered a public rejoicing with prayer and praise. This was in October or November, 1621. On July 30, 1623 was held the second Thanksgiving, the first ever appointed by a governor in an authoritative way. On February 22, 1631, there occurred in Boston the first Thanksgiving celebration of which any written account remains among the colonial archives. The first regular Thanksgiving proclamation was printed in Massachusetts in 1677.

The first Thanksgiving proclamation ever issued by a president of the United States was by George Washington in 1795. From Massachusetts the custom spread to other colonies. In 1830 the governor of New York appointed a day for public thanksgiving and other northern states quickly followed.

No comments:

Post a Comment