Boy, time really does fly when you're having fun. It's almost November 24Th, 2005 - Thanksgiving Day. Soon, gobble, gobble, gobble day will be upon us and we'll all be feasting until are stomachs are bulging (at least some of us will). I think we should call it calories, gobble, gobble day! Don't you?
Thanksgiving Day is a huge holiday in the United States. Families and friends get together. We have football games, and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. And, the day after Thanksgiving marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping season (black Friday) which is, generally, the busiest shopping day of the year. We've been celebrating gobble, gobble, gobble day for a long time. We've been eating and shopping, then eating, eating and eating. And,finally, gaining weight. So, why do we do this?
Well, we seem to think Thanksgiving was a day of observance for the Pilgrims. A day for them and us to give thanks for all we have and all we enjoy. But, the Pilgrims never held customary Thanksgiving Days in the fall. In fact, the Pilgrims only had one feast in 1621, after their very first harvest and this was NEVER repeated. The pilgrims were deeply religious people. A day of thanksgiving to them was a day for prayers and fasting.
However, when we think of Thanksgiving we think of the one Harvest Feast that the Pilgrims did have with 90 people, including their Indian friends. The Pilgrims had landed December 11, 1620 and lost many of their group during the cold, harsh winter. Their first harvest in the fall was bountiful so they celebrated the harvest with the Indians who had helped them survive. The feast lasted three days.
How did it turn into a national tradition? That didn't happen until 169 years later when George Washington proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving in 1789. As is usually the case, some people wanted it, some (like Thomas Jefferson) did not. So, between 1789 and 1863 Thanksgiving was dependent upon whether the President proclaimed it as a National Day or not.
During the Civil War Sarah Hale, a magazine editor, urged President Abraham Lincoln to reinstate Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Lincoln proclaimed the last Thursday in November as a National Day of Thanksgiving. It was still dependent upon the President, however, to proclaim the day as a National Day every year. Every President since Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving Day as the 4Th Thursday in November.
Seventy-six years later in 1939 Franklin Roosevelt, however, proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the 3rd Thursday in November to lengthen the holiday shopping season. He did this in 1940 and 1941, too. Doing so, however, upset many people. So, we have President Roosevelt to thank for linking SHOPPING to Thanksgiving.
It wasn't until 1941 that congress declared Thanksgiving as a National Holiday. However, they changed it back to the 4Th Thursday in November. Why the 4Th? Who knows. Political pandering, probably. Payback for something? Who knows. We're talking about politicians here.
In any event, Thanksgiving has remained the 4Th Thursday in November and is inexplicably linked with shopping, parades, football games, feasting(and gorging, perhaps), Pepto Bismol (definitely after the gorging), and the winter dieting frenzy. After all when you eat, shop, eat, eat, and eat you're going to gain weight.
So, Happy Thanksgiving to all. When you sit down on the 4Th Thursday of November just remember these words "Gobble, gobble, gobble. Oh, how we love to Gobble. Eat, eat, and eat! Oh, what a wonderful treat! Gobble, gobble, gobble. Oh, how we love to eat! Diet, diet, diet! Oh, NO I will NOT try it!"
Happy Thanksgiving! Gobble, Gobble, Gobble!
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