I wanted to post this tonight before my annual dosage of tryptophan kicks in sometime during the Eagles-Cowboys game. I did a little research on the origin of our Thanksgiving holiday and found a video on the History Channel which revealed some interesting facts:
Starting in 1621 when the pilgrims shared their successful harvest with their Indian "hosts" it was not celebrated as a single feast but rather a three-day festival complete with contests, entertainment and other activities of the day.
The Indians brought five deer, so venison was definitely on the menu. Turkey was not. They also did not have pumpkin pie or potatoes, which had not been introduced to New England yet.
The pilgrims did not plan on creating an annual tradition and so it was not held for many years. In 1789, President George Washington declared it a national holiday for Thursday, November 26, 1789.
It did not become a national holiday until the 19th century when Sara Josefha Hale, more famous for writing, "Mary Had a Little Lamb" decided to re-create the menu from the first celebration back in the 17th century. She made her own substitutions with certain items and waged an almost thirty-year campaign to make Thanksgiving a national holiday.
In 1863, during the heart of the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln declared the fourth Thursday a national holiday. It stayed that way until 1939 when President Franklin Roosevelt moved the holiday up one week to give depression era retailers an extra week for Christmas shopping.
The bill was widely criticized and in 1941 FDR moved the holiday back one week to its present location of the fourth Thursday of November.
As always, click on the image to make it larger:
It was not until 1989 when President George H.W. Bush gave the first presidential pardon of a turkey. That tradition remains today and every president since then has pardoned one or two turkeys on every Thanksgiving.
This year President Obama pardoned two turkeys. The video also stated the pardoned turkeys are given to a farm near Washington where they live out their remaining days in Turkey Heaven.
There, probably more information about our beloved Thanksgiving holiday than you ever wanted to know.
Now, I am off to Walmart to wait for their 6 PM opening on Black Friday! If you believe that, I have some land I will sell you in Canada that is full of black gold or better known as tar sand oil!
I look forward to your comments.
P.S. If you are one of those Black Friday shoppers who just cannot wait for the giant retailers to open up, be patient, courteous and think about what you are doing when you could be home buying all those important commodities online?