Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thanksgiving

As a reminder, the library will be closed on Thursday in observance of Thanksgiving. We will open Friday at our usual time. Also, there is no story time on Wednesday. We will see you again next Wed (1 Dec) at 1000 in the children's library.

Ok, Now that we have the book keeping out of the way, lets talk about our favorite harvest festival, here in the United States. What is it? Where did it come from? What's up with all the football?

While it's since moved away from religious roots, Thanksgiving is still a day to give thanks for a bountiful harvest, and for that which we have--friends, family and material comforts alike. Harvest celebrations are a long tradition of many cultures, including European and Native American, including sharing food and company, so the first Thanksgiving, whenever it was, was not a far stretch for either culture.

Some say it started in 1621 at the Plymouth Plantation, but it may have started even earlier in Canada or Florida. It's still celebrated in Canada (October) and Florida (same day as the rest of the country, silly!) to this day. It's also celebrated in Leidenk in the Netherlands, and there is another similar holiday on the same day celebrated on the island of Grenada in the Caribbean Sea. Thanksgiving gets around a bit!


The date's floated around a bit, too. We're used to it being the fourth Thursday of November, but it wasn't actually fixed there until 1941. "The First National Proclamation of Thanksgiving" was given by the Continental Congress in 1777. December 18th (a Thursday) was actually the date set aside for a day of "solemn thanksgiving and praise. Later, in 1789, George Washington declared Thursday, November 26th, to be the first "Thanksgiving Day." Lincoln later declared that Thanksgiving Day should be the last Thursday in November--which is, consequently, different than the fourth Thursday, especially in months with five Thursdays.

And it was only moved back (theoretically by a week) by FDR in 1941 to expand the shopping season by a week, since back then, it was considered bad form to start advertising for Christmas before Thanksgiving. Aren't you glad we don't have that problem now days?

 Sure, we have our fall harvest foods, like squash and apples and potatoes and corn and turkey, all great traditions on Thanksgiving day. But we've also picked up a few other traditions, such as the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which has been running since 1924. Football has also been a mainstay on Thanksgiving since 1902, from professional football, with the Detroit Lions hosting a match every  year since 1934, to college (who isn't going to be watching the Border Showdown between the Jayhawks and Tigers, come on--be honest!) and high school football. The roar of the crowed and the exclamations of the color commentators have been just as much of a part of our Thanksgiving tradition as pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes for as long as many of us can remember.

So when you're trying to figure out if the turkey really is done, or are watching Detroit play, yet again, or if you're setting up your holiday decorations early, or spending time with friends and family, volunteering, or are at religious services, just remember that you're part of the big long history of Thanksgiving. Have a safe and happy holiday.


And if you want to tune into the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, it starts at 8000, on NBC. ;)




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