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The History of Thanksgiving
by Brenda Arnold
Norman rockwell knew the value of a thanksgivng dinner with AmericansThe story of Thanksgiving is basically the story of the Pilgrims and their thankful community feast at Plymouth, Rock, in Massachusetts.  Most stories of Thanksgiving history start with the harvest celebration of the pilgrims and the Indians that took place in the autumn of 1621. Although they did have a three day feast in celebration of a good harvest, and the local Indians did participate, this "first Thanksgiving" was not a holiday, simply a gathering.

Throughout history mankind has celebrated the bountiful harvest with variations of thanksgiving ceremonies. Harvest festivals and thanksgiving celebrations were held by the ancient Greeks, the Romans, the Hebrews, the Chinese, and the Egyptians. Before the establishment of formal religions many ancient farmers believed that their crops contained spirits which caused the crops to grow and die. Many believed that these spirits would be released when the crops were harvested and they had to be destroyed or they would take revenge on the farmers who harvested them. Some of the harvest festivals celebrated the defeat of these spirits.

The custom of an annually celebrated thanksgiving, held after the harvest, continued through the years. During the American Revolution  a day of national thanksgiving was suggested by the Continental Congress.

In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Symbols: Cornucopia, also known as the 'horn of plenty' is the most common symbol of a harvest festival. A Horn shaped container, it is filled with abundance of harvest. The traditional cornucopia was a curved goat's horn filled to brim with fruits and grains. According to Greek legend, Amalthea (a goat) broke one of her horns and offered it to Greek God Zeus as a sign of reverence. As a sign of gratitude, Zeus later set the goat's image in the sky also known as constellation Capricorn

One of the most popular symbols of Thanksgiving is the Corn. With It's varieties of colors it makes for a very interesting symbol. Some Americans considered blue and white corn to be sacred. It is believed that native Americans had been growing corn a long time before the pilgrims arrived in their country. The Americans taught pilgrims how to grow corn and help them survive the bitter winter. The Corn eventually became a part of the first thanksgiving dinner and the tradition continues till date where the corn finds its place on every dinner table the world over and specially during the Thanksgiving dinner.


Thanksgiving Customs:  Cranberry, Originally called crane berry, has derived its name from its pink blossoms and drooping head which reminded the pilgrim of a crane. It is a symbol and a modern diet staple of thanksgiving. Pilgrims soon found out a way to sweeten the bitten cranberries with maple sugar. Ever since cranberry sauce is a permanent companion of turkey during thanksgiving feast.
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The story of Thanksgiving is basically the story of the Pilgrims and their thankful community feast at Plymouth, Rock, in Massachusetts. Most stories of Thanksgiving history start with the harvest celebration of the pilgrims and the Indians that took place in the autumn of 1621. In 1817 New York State adopted Thanksgiving Day as an annual custom. By the middle of the 19th century many other states also celebrated a Thanksgiving Day. In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving.
Starts: 11/28/2013 12:00AM
Ends: 2014-03-29:00.000 Duration: 23:59
United States