Snoop Nov 22
History tells us the first Thanksgiving celebration was a time set aside to celebrate and give thanks for a bountiful harvest season. The early settlers had much to celebrate as they planned this special multi-day harvest thanksgiving, because the event also celebrated the deep reality that they had survived a harrowing and deadly year in the ‘new land.’ Historical accounts say only a handful of the original group made it through the harsh winter that year, with many deaths in the colony attributed to a contagious illness sweeping through the camp. It is cited that 78 percent of the women who came to America on the Mayflower died during the first winter.
But, even with all the hardships they endured, it was in their culture to give thanks and pray. Prayer was an important part of their daily life.
The American Natives, an integral part of the celebration, were also noted to be a culture that daily acknowledged a higher spirit power. They were quite conscientious and devout in exhibiting a strong respect for nature and the bounty of the land.
Today, the most solid account telling about the first thanksgiving feast was written by Edward Winslow, a passenger and one of the leaders aboard the Mayflower. Winslow was instrumental in establishing Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts. His account of the ‘thanksgiving day feast and celebration’ was recorded in a letter he wrote to William Bradford, the governor of Plymouth Colony. According to historians, it is believed the celebration took place sometime in October or mid-November in 1621, and there were approximately 50 colonists, mostly men and children, and nearly 100 Indians. There were bountiful offerings of food, festivities, games, fellowship, but possibly the most important trait exhibited between the two groups was the deliberate art of diplomacy.
This year as we look forward to the Thanksgiving holiday with anticipation and the bountiful array of wonderful feast offerings, may we all acknowledge the blessings we all have experienced this year. Like the Pilgrims, may we choose to focus on the year’s bounty, not the heartache and loss.
May we also remember their example of diplomacy as well. Perhaps Thanksgiving isn’t the best time to revisit unresolved wounds with Uncle Joe, or argue political strategies with a feminist granddaughter. Instead, it will probably be more fun to play a competitive game of tag football in the backyard, or break out a new deck of cards for a game of spades or pitch.
Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to embrace, enjoy and create new memories with family and friends, but it is up to us an individuals to make it happen…..
And, for those who may have friends or family members as houseguests staying over the holiday weekend, you may soon recall the strong words of inventor, scientist, printer, politician, freemason and diplomat, Benjamin Franklin, who said, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.”
Happy Thanksgiving, with heartfelt blessings to all!!