Thanksgiving Day is a national holiday celebrated as a day of giving thanks for the god’s faith and goodness. On the occasion of Thanksgiving Day neighbors and families gather and enjoy time together. Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November in the USA and on the second Monday of October in Canada. It is also observed that several places across the world celebrate a similar type of celebrations.
In the olden days, people in North America held thanksgiving ceremonies for the successful harvest and for the hope of good growing seasons in the next spring.
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In the early 17th century a group of English people called pilgrims wanted to reform England’s Churches. Most of the Pilgrims were the members of Puritan sect. The pilgrims taught that the membership in the Church of England violated the biblical laws for the pure Christian. So they wanted to purify the Churches of England. As a result, the pilgrims were persecuted. So they moved to the Netherlands also known as Holland seeking religious freedom.
After 12 years in Holland, they were struggled a lot to make living as they felt they were threatened by Dutch Society. The pilgrims decided to find a place where they could create their own society that matches to their holy ideas. In the exchange of their 7 years of work, a London stock company financed their journey.
They started their journey from England to Plymouth in September 1620 with 102 passengers on a ship called Mayflower. It was a very difficult journey to them and it took 65 days. Many passengers were cold and damp for much of the journey and others were concerned that they wouldn’t even survive though many were sick and one person died. Finally, the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock on October 11th, 1620.
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The Puritans started exploring the surroundings for a suitable place to build their colony and finally, they choose Plymouth because it has an excellent harbor and large brook to catch fish. The pilgrims built their colony while living on the Mayflower and ferrying back and forth to land. It took almost 4 months for them to build their houses and shed. The construction was delayed due to heavy snowstorms. In late March 1621, their settlement was completed.
Their success was dampened by great sorrow, as nearly half of their original crew died that first winter. On March 16th, 1621, a Native American named Samoset walked right into the colony and proclaimed “welcomed Englishmen!”. Samoset was from an Indian tribe in Maine and he had learned few English words from the fishermen who operating in that region. He introduced another Native American named Squanto to the pilgrims. Squanto was originally from Patuxet and he had spent time in England. The pilgrims used the opportunity to negotiate a peace treaty and to establish trading relations.
Squanto’s importance to the pilgrims was huge and they would not survive without Squanto’s help. Squanto’s taught the pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap and how to farm Indian corn and other crops. The pilgrims also learned which plants are poisonous and which plants used for medicine from Squanto. With his help, the pilgrims had enough harvest that provides food for the upcoming winter. So it’s time to celebrate their success although 40 people died, they successfully built their colony, harvest enough crops.
It’s time to give thanks to Indian neighbors and god. The pilgrim’s governor William Bradford announced a day of thanksgiving to God on November 1621. They invited Squanto, Samoset, and other Indian neighbors to join in their celebration. The first Thanksgiving Day was attended by 50 pilgrims and 90 Native Americans including their chief – Massasoit and this event lasted for 3 days.
Two years late, the colony was suffered from drought. The pilgrim’s governor William Bradford ordered a day of fasting. It is said that soon afterward it began to rain and lasted for 14 days, which resulted in the largest harvest. To celebrate God’s answer to prayer November 29th was proclaimed a day of thanksgiving, this date is believed to be the beginning of the present-day Thanksgiving Day. Which is held on the 4th Thursday of the November.