How did a 1621 harvest gathering evolve into a popular holiday?

The Evolution of a Holiday is fascinating. Little did the native population and the people of the Mayflower realize how the culture of Thanksgiving would evolve.

The traditions around my family’s celebration of Thanksgiving have taken years to take shape – each generation changing the flavor of the day – literally! Back in the day, when we were all younger, tackle football was played. Back before every football game was on TV, the TV game was a “Holy Grail.” As certain folks joined the family and became cooks (by marrying into or aging up) food has changed. Dietary restrictions have recently played a role as well. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

How did a 1621 harvest gathering evolve into a popular holiday? Colonists, states, and later the U.S. government proclaimed special days of thanksgiving. Although without the Wampanoag corn, there would have been no harvest in 1621.

In the 19th century, the modern Thanksgiving holiday began to take shape. In 1863, during the Civil War, President Lincoln declared two national Thanksgivings. One, in August, commemorated the Battle of Gettysburg. The second, in November, was to give thanks for “general blessings.”

Whatever ways you and your family celebrate, I hope you can give thanks. If you don’t like your choices on this day, it is not too late to join us at The Palms. We serve from 11:30 am to 1 pm in King Hall. All are welcome.

Shalom, Paul