Why Was Thanksgiving Declared

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Every year, towards the end of November, Americans gather together to have a traditional holiday meal for the Thanksgiving holiday. It is a lovely tradition and one that almost everyone follows, since it brings people together. We can share the day and express what it is we are all thankful for during this special holiday. But when we refer to it as a holiday, it begs the question, why was Thanksgiving declared at all?

Well, Thanksgiving started out as a feast. Basically, the Pilgrims, who had only recently arrived in this country decided to have a celebration of the first harvest that they took out of the ground in the new world. The tradition followed the biblical story of Cain Abel (remember the story of Cain and Abel, Abel offered the first fruits as a sacrifice, but his brother killed him because he loved God).

What's interesting is that the original holiday actually lasted for three days and may very well have been meant to have a goose as the main course, not the traditional turkey we use today. It all started with Queen Elizabeth.

The legend says that Elizabeth was munching on a goose when she received some wonderful news: the Spanish armada, which had been sent to wipe out the British fleet had itself been wiped out at sea when they sank, to man. Elizabeth was so happy that she immediately ordered that another goose be slaughtered and eaten by way of thanksgiving. However, when the Pilgrims wanted to celebrate in the new land, they found that geese were hard to come by, so they settled for the next best thing, which was a local bird called a turkey.

The tradition became entrenched and Americans began to annually celebrate Thanksgiving around the end of November. When Abraham Lincoln was president, he gave another reason why thanksgiving was declared: the end of the civil war. He decided that the holiday would be on the fourth Thursday of the month of November and from then on, it became a tradition. It was not until president Franklin D. Roosevelt however that the date became an official one, sanctioned in law.

Whatever the reason that Thanksgiving was declared though, the important thing to remember, especially in these trying times is that the holiday is all about family. It's about getting together to remember what we're thankful for and why this nation is still the best damn place on earth. God Bless America.

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