Compassion

Post #173 – History and Unexpected Ways to Celebrate Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving day is celebrated mainly in America and Canada. Much like the annual harvest festivals celebrated in other countries throughout the world.Thanksgiving Day was meant to pay our homage to the Almighty for this bountiful harvest. While the purpose and origin of the concept remain the same, the day of its celebration differs from country to country. In the United States, the holiday is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November while in Canada (which has an early harvest cycle and season), the holiday is observed on the second Monday in October, known as the Columbus Day. Much like the Christian Thanksgiving day, it is celebrated with pomp and show.

In North America:
Thanksgiving Day was first celebrated on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine when Pedro Menendez de Aviles and his men shared a feast with the natives. After that Pilgrims held a three days feast to make merriment on their enormous harvest.
In United States:
The immigrants who sailed to this country aboard the Mayflower were basically members of the English Separatist Church (a Puritan sect). They took shelter in Netherlands but soon were disgusted by their lifestyle. They settled in United States with a desire for a better lifestyle. But their beginning was horrendous. The climate was unfavorable and many of them died. But in 1621 they hard turmoil bore fruits for them as there was a huge harvest. They celebrated it with a feast with 91 Indians who had helped them during their harsh times.Thanksgiving was celebrated after that at irregular intervals until Franklin Roosevelt, had set it one week to the next-to-last Thursday of November in order keeping an eye on commercial benefits as Christmas was nearby. Allegations were brought against this decision, which made the President to move Thanksgiving back to its original date two years later. And in 1941, Thanksgiving was finally sanctioned by Congress as a legal holiday, as the fourth Thursday in November.


In Canada:
Probably the Americans who migrated to Canada after American Independence brought with them the practices of Thanksgiving. Initially, it was celebrated in English-Canadian Society but later it became a countrywide practice. Formally, Canadian Thanksgiving Day was celebrated on April 5, 1872 on behalf of the Prince of Wales’ recovery from illness. Innumerable transformations took place before the date of celebration finally settled on the second Monday in October in 1957. Source: http://www.thanksgiving.org.uk/thanksgiving-history.html


For many Thanksgiving is a celebration of family and giving thanks to the Lord for his many blessings. But, for thousands, Thanksgiving is a day of sorrow, sadness, loneliness, emotional triggers, etc.


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Every year, Thanksgiving reminds us of all the things we have to be grateful for all year. It’s the launching of a season of extra compassion and kindness.

Because of this, and the feasting of Thanksgiving, many people donate or deliver food
or food baskets
, or volunteer to serve food at homeless shelters like Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles, where they serve 3500 meals Thanksgiving Day. Others take time to donate to causes like helping our homeless friends through organizations like Mark Horvath‘s InvisiblePeople, or hungry kids through programs like No Kid Hungry. This is greatly appreciated by the organizations as well as all the hungry people they help. And all are definitely encouraged!

If you are looking to add something new this year, or to include another type of organization, here are a few suggestions. You can also search for new and interesting organizations and volunteer activities all year on VolunteerMatch.org.


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9 replies »

  1. Hey Nancy, a great post for all of us who are not very familiar with thanksgiving custom. I wonder if there is anything similar in any European country. In Greece harvest celebrations are held locally and sometimes even privately. Sometimes if an area is famous for producing something (e.g. cherries) they locally have a cherries’ festival on the harvest period. I like the spirit and meaning of thanksgiving, and I hope some day I’ll be able to celebrate it properly with an American family!

    Like

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