Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday observed in the United States. In 1621, history tells, the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Americans shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as the first Thanksgiving celebration in the colonies.
In 1789, George Washington issued the first Thanksgiving proclamation by the national government of the United States. He called upon Americans to express their gratitude for the happy conclusion to the country’s war of independence and the successful ratification of the U.S. Constitution.
In 1817, New York became the one of the first northern states to officially adopt an annual Thanksgiving holiday.
In 1827, a magazine editor Sarah Josepha Hale, launched a campaign to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday. “For 36 years, she published numerous editorials and sent scores of letters to governors, senators, presidents and other politicians, earning her the nickname the Mother of Thanksgiving.”
In 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November. He asked all Americans to express thanks to God and to “commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation.” He scheduled Thanksgiving for the final Thursday in November, and it was celebrated on that day every year.
In 1939, Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted to move the holiday up a week (in an attempt to spur retail sales during the Great Depression). After strong opposition in 1941, he changed Thanksgiving Day to the fourth Thursday in November.
Why a Thanksgiving:
Thanksgiving is a reminder to show gratitude, gratefulness, thankfulness, and appreciation. It is a reminder of the richness of our lives – family, friends and everything around us that gives us happiness. The meal is only a celebration of a moment in history. Thanksgiving doesn’t begin with and end after a big meal.
Thanksgiving bears a more significant meaning.
Thanksgiving is not a noun, rather a combination of two verbs; Thanking and Giving. It is a reminder to Call to Action!
It is a reminder to be grateful for what you have in life, even the smallest thing that brings you happiness.
It is a reminder to share your success with others, to uplift others, to keep company, or simply to pay it forward in order to create happiness for others. In this progression, gratitude – Thanksgiving - unlocks the fullness of your life and helps you find peace within yourself.
On this day, reflect on how to build upon the feeling of thankfulness.
Make the decision to turn a day to express gratitude to a month of expressing gratitude and then to a year of expressing gratitude. The expression of gratitude should not be limited to words and thoughts, but also actions.
Start with small steps. Give a dollar to a Salvation Army Bell Ringer (perhaps you will want to make it $5 when you open your wallet). Take a meal to a homeless shelter. Donate a pint of blood or a unit of platelets.
In the first 30 min. of the day, free yourself of all distractions, just to think of how you can help someone. Write down your thoughts during this time. Pray that you will have an opportunity to help someone on that day. The world is full of opportunities.
When we share our gratitude, people feel appreciated and loved. Gratitude creates happiness; happiness within you - true happiness. That Happiness makes you healthier and gives you peace of mind. Happiness is contagious.
There is no better time to act than now.
Make it a habit, so you will no longer need this to be a reminder.
May you be Happy. Happy Thanksgiving!
*The history lesson is from the History Channel website.