Actually, gratitude is something I try to make time for every day, not just in the month of November. And for good reason!
Here are a few of the biggies on my 2019 gratitude list:
- Treasuring every day with my husband, who (after last year’s challenges) is growing stronger every day.
- A new granddaughter and a healthy, talkative two-year-old grandson (tantrums and all)
- Hitting the USA Today list with 12 other talented authors of our Christmas anthology!
- And my kids; always my kids!
Of course there are more, but I’m in a bit of a time crunch. I’m handing off Thanksgiving hostessing duties to my daughter this year. However, I’ve promised to help with the preparation and cooking. So off I go to polish some vintage silverware.
But, for your reading pleasure, I’m reprising a Thanksgiving post from a few years ago.
The Mother of Thanksgiving.
Though the Prince Regent of England declared a day of Thanksgiving in January 1816, Thanksgiving as an annual holiday is a new world phenomenon. In the United States, the tireless crusading of Sarah Hale led in 1863 to the establishment of Thanksgiving as a national holiday. The “Mother of Thanksgiving” was a working mother of five children. She served as editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book, for forty years until the age of eighty-nine.
New England Roots
The notion of a holiday to give thanks is rooted in both harvest celebrations and religious observances. British Puritans influenced the first settlers of New England, and sought to purify society of the wild celebrations surrounding religious holidays like Christmas. (Recall Oliver Cromwell’s suppression of all Christmas celebrations.) The Thanksgiving holiday was not generally celebrated in the southern states until after the Civil War.
The Spanish settlers in Florida held a Thanksgiving feast, but it’s easy to imagine their celebration as a one time occurrence, eclipsed by the regular observance of Christmas, Carnival, and Saints’ Days.
This 1810 Thanksgiving Ball was held in Canterbury, Connecticut.
The Thanksgiving menu originated in New England as well.
Enterprising Americans have updated the menu with regional adaptations. Sweet potatoes from the American South took the place of mashed turnips. The green bean casserole appeared in the mid-twentieth century, and graced our Thanksgiving table every year.
At our house, my mother always added a hearty pasta dish in homage to my dad’s Italian heritage. My husband and I always add a Polish dish like the ones his mother used to make.
It’s all about family and friends!
One of the things I love most about Thanksgiving is that it brings together members of our multi-faith family for a celebration that doesn’t step on any religious toes. Gratitude ought to be a part of every faith (and NO faith) tradition!
What about at your holiday celebration? What do you add to or delete from the menu?
Images: Wikimedia Commons; Thanksgiving meme is from getStencil.com