Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving in the 21st century

In Whispers from the Past, there is a scene where (late in the book) Susanna is thinking about Thanksgiving. In the 19th century, it would've been just another day. In the 21st century, she knew that Mark would be celebrating a national day of thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday in November.

A holiday of thanksgiving has had an interesting history in North America.  Canada began to celebrate it first, as early as the late sixteenth century. Today, their official Thanksgiving occurs in October.

In the United States, we often commemorate Thanksgiving in recognition of a feast between Native Americans and Pilgrims from the early seventeenth century. But the first national celebration didn't come until George Washington proclaimed it in 1789. Even then, the holiday didn't really stick.  There were three more national proclamations in the 1790s, but no more until the 1810s.

After a great deal of lobbying by Sarah Josepha Hale (author of "Mary Had A Little Lamb"), Abraham Lincoln created a national holiday on the final Thursday of November. It wasn't until Franklin Roosevelt that the US started to celebrate Thanksgiving as we do today--on the fourth Thursday in November.
Waiting our turn

For many families, Thanksgiving means hours of cooking, lots of football games, and a week of leftovers. But not for mine. 

While I was pregnant with my first daughter, my husband and I decided to eat our Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant. We absolutely loved it. No angst about getting things ready in time. No over-eating. No dishes to wash. No refrigerator full of stuff to throw out soon.

We loved this simple meal so much that we've kept that tradition nearly every year since. 

Turkey, dressing, yams, and sweet tea!
For us, Thanksgiving dinner involves standing in line (with hundreds of other new friends) while waiting to eat at our favorite restaurant. And we've acquired an entourage. Now that both of our daughters are in their 20s, we include many of their friends in our feast. (And we always leave a big tip for the wait staff and cooks who have made our day!)

I hope your holiday has been as much fun as ours--and that you have many blessings in the coming year.

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