by Elaine Gallagher 4th Thursday in November People, worldwide, have observed festivals of thanksgiving when they harvested their crops. Harvest festivals honoring goddesses […]
4th Thursday in November
People, worldwide, have observed festivals of thanksgiving when they harvested their crops. Harvest festivals honoring goddesses of grains and orchards were held by Ancient Greeks and Romans The Greek goddess was Demeter. The Roman goddess was Ceres, whose name is the root for our word cereal.
People would have music and play sports and games. They also would hold a harvest parade, decorating wagons with sheaves of grain. That was the origin of decorated floats we see in parades today. Choosing a queen to ride on a parade float goes back to the time when people honored a goddess as ruler of the harvest festival.
In the seventeenth century, a group of Pilgrims had left England in search of religious freedom in Europe, going to Holland. Because their children were learning Dutch and losing their English, the Pilgrims decided to go to the New World. In 1620, the Pilgrims crossed the Atlantic aboard the ship, ‘Mayflower’. They landed at a place we now call Massachusetts, set up a colony, and planted the seeds they had brought from England. But the seeds didn’t grow, and there was so little food that many of them starved to death. Also, they were not prepared for the long cold winters. Luckily, for the Pilgrims, some nearby Native Americans came to the rescue. The Native Americans taught the Pilgrims how to grow native food such as corn, pumpkins, and potatoes.
The Native Americans gave the Pilgrims more seeds, and helped build houses for them. Without help from the Natives, the Pilgrims would not have survived.
Thanksgiving Day in the U.S.A. commemorates a feast held by early British settlers in the colony of Massachusetts. After the first harvest, the Pilgrims’ leader, William Bradford, suggested that the Pilgrims hold a feast of Thanksgiving. He felt that it was a good time to thank God for the Pilgrims’ survival in their new homeland and for the friendly Native Americans who had helped them survive.
President Lincoln declared a national Day of Thanksgiving on October 3, 1863. It was, however, a one-time event, and future Thanksgiving observances were based on dates determined by various presidents. Finally, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill creating the current holiday in 1941, which is celebrated on the 4th Thursday of November each year.TEACHERS; IF YOU WANT A POWER POINT PROGRAM ABOUT THANKSGIVING FORYOUR STUDENTS (IN ENGLISH OR IN SPANISH) WRITE TO ME AND I’LLSEND IT VIA EMAIL. THE PRESENTATION HAS 9 SLIDES.firstname.lastname@example.org