Mayflower. Historians believe an early thanksgiving celebration was held in St Augustine Florida, and another in Virginia. Most people trace the start of American Thanksgiving to a celebration held in Plymouth, Massachusetts in 1621.
102 Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower September 1620 and in December they arrived in America. Only half of the Pilgrims survived the voyage and winter. In March they left the ship and started a settlement. Of the 50 survivors, my wife had three ancestors: Isaac Allerton, John Howland and Richard Warren.
First Thanksgiving. The Pilgrims were aided by the local tribe, the Wampangnoag and their chief Massasoit. The Indians taught the Pilgrims several cultivating and foraging skills which were essential for the Pilgrim’s survival. Squanto, a member of the tribe had been captured and taken to England as a slave. He was freed and returned to his people. He spoke English and was a valuable interpreter.
When the fall harvest came Governor William Bradford and Chief Massasoit oversaw a celebration. It is not clear who initiated the celebration but 90 Indians and 50 pilgrims held the event over three days.
Over the years, individual states and communities held harvest events until George Washington declared Thanksgiving a national holiday. Abraham Lincoln codified the date as the fourth Thursday in November.
Some people believe Thanksgiving is a celebration honoring the Pilgrims and rue the holiday because of the problems created for First Nation tribes.
First Fruits. I observe Thanksgiving as a celebration of a tradition found in the Old Testament. In recognition of and Thanksgiving for all God provides the Jewish tradition was to return the first fruits of the harvest.
When I look around the world, I am living a very privileged life. I am extremely thankful and focus each Thanksgiving on my blessings. As a part of the celebration, I feel the full responsibility to be a proper steward over all with which I have been entrusted. I need to care and share.
One of my biggest blessings is having friends. I hope my little blog is a small way to be a good steward in our relationship. Thank you for all you have shared with me this year. I hope our journey continues in good health and love.