Today is Thanksgiving, and everybody at Vulcan Termite and Pest Control, Inc. loves celebrating this special American holiday. In fact, we sit down to have a company Thanksgiving dinner together every year. It’s a chance for us to relax and reflect on all that we’ve accomplished since the previous Thanksgiving.
One thing we’re always thankful for is Thanksgiving itself. We’d like to show our appreciation by sharing a little history about the holiday and President Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation.
The History of Thanksgiving
We all learned a little bit about the origin of Thanksgiving in elementary school. But here are some fun facts about the holiday’s history that you may not already know (or may have forgotten since you were a kid).
- The first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth in 1621.
- The Wampanoag Indians celebrated that first Thanksgiving with the pilgrims.
- A drought occurred after the first Thanksgiving, so the next one wasn’t held until 1623. In the days leading up to the feast people fasted, and this became a tradition for some time.
- The first Thanksgiving was a feast to celebrate the pilgrims’ first corn harvest, something that Native Americans taught them how to grow.
- George Washington presented the first Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1789, designating a day for the holiday.
- New York was the first state to adopt Thanksgiving as a holiday in 1817.
- For the first few hundred years, Thanksgiving was largely unknown in the south.
- Thanksgiving didn’t become an official holiday until 1863.
- The biggest proponent of making Thanksgiving a holiday was Sarah Josepha Hale. She lobbied for the holiday for over 36 years, convincing Abraham Lincoln to make it official.
- Since 1863 Thanksgiving had been celebrated on the last Thursday of November, until Franklin D. Roosevelt moved it to the third Thursday in 1939. After much opposition, he moved the date back to the last Thursday in 1941.
- 90% of people eat turkey on Thanksgiving, but it’s not clear whether it was part of the first holiday event.
- The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade started in 1924.
The Thanksgiving Proclamation
It was President Lincoln who declared that Thanksgiving would be an American holiday when he gave his now famous Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1863. America was right in the middle of the Civil War, with people struggling severely on both sides. If ever Americans needed a day to reflect and be with loved ones, it was then.
In the proclamation President Lincoln delivered on October 3rd, he thanked all of the Americans that had continued working despite the turmoil so that the country could keep production and business alive. Lincoln asked people to offer thanks for the little comforts that they do have and that life is still going on. He also asked them to “fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.”
The day Lincoln made Thanksgiving an official U.S. holiday happened to be exactly 74 years after Washington delivered the first Thanksgiving Proclamation. We’re thankful for both!
Image Source: www.flickr.com/photos/mebs09/4146312244