The Latest from Cactus Tactical

Suppliers of innovative self defense tactical equipment and police gear

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Tactical Blog from Cactus Tactical

Thanksgiving Holiday- Traditions & History

It's that time of year again when families and friends gather at restaurants and homes to celebrate with grateful hearts another Thanksgiving holiday.  Thanksgiving Day is a communal celebration marked as a sense of gratitude people feel for all the good things in life. This is done by offering prayers, gifting your near and dear ones. The fourth Thursday in the month of November is marked for the yearly celebration.

The history of Thanksgiving in the United States begins with the pilgrims who came over from England and landed on Plymouth Rock. Most stories of Thanksgiving history start with the harvest celebration of the pilgrims and the Native Americans that took place in the autumn of 1621. The origin story of  the first Thanksgiving being celebrated  really goes back to 1620. Late that year, the Mayflower, a small ship for ocean crossings, left England with over 100 passengers onboard. Some of them sought religious freedom in the new world and others simply were drawn by stories of the prosperity and promise in America. The journey to the new world lasted over two months. When they arrived, they found themselves well off course, near the tip of Cape Cod. They had been navigating for the Hudson River. They set up the colony at Plymouth on the other side of the bay over a month later. The settlers were ill prepared for the harsh New England winter and by the time spring came, they were down to about half of their original supplies. At the beginning of the following fall, they had lost 46 of the original 102 who sailed on the Mayflower. That spring they met a Native American who spoke some English. He introduced them to Squanto; the famous English speaking Indian who helped the settlers stay alive. He showed the otherwise hopeless settlers how to fish and hunt as well as how to grow corn and tell edible plants from poisonous ones. Squanto introduced the settlers to a friendly local tribe called the Wampanoag. With the help of the Native Americans the settlers prospered and later that year, in November of 1621 the settlers were ready to celebrate the successful harvest of their first crop of corn. The settlers invited about 91 of their Indian allies to the party. It is believed that the Pilgrims would not have made it through the year without the help of the natives. The gathering, festivities and cuisine was more of a traditional English harvest festival than a true "thanksgiving" observance.

The feast lasted three days. It is no secret that most Thanksgiving Day traditions revolve around food. Governor William Bradford sent "four men fowling" after wild ducks and geese. The term "turkey" was used by the Pilgrims to mean any sort of wild fowl. It is certain that they also had venison at this feast.   Another modern staple at almost every Thanksgiving table is pumpkin pie. But it is unlikely that the first feast included that treat. The supply of flour had been long diminished, so there was no bread or pastries of any kind. However, they did eat boiled pumpkin, and they produced a type of fried bread from their corn crop. There was also no milk, cider, potatoes, or butter. There was no domestic cattle for dairy products, and the newly-discovered potato was still considered by many Europeans to be poisonous. But the feast did include fish, berries, watercress, lobster, dried fruit, clams, venison, and plums. Indeed, the turkey is the symbol of Thanksgiving. Wild turkeys are still quite common in many parts of the United States, so most historians would concede that turkey was probably on the menu. However, there were probably lots of other types of meat on the menu too, like venison and pork. What is more telling is what was missing from that first Thanksgiving. There were probably very few if any vegetables at the Thanksgiving feast. Today we have mashed potatoes, yams, squashes and other veggies, but neither the pilgrims nor the Indians had any way to keep vegetables fresh that far into fall. Another major difference is the lack of desserts at the first Thanksgiving. Today, dessert is a major part of the Thanksgiving meal. However by autumn of 1621, the pilgrims were running low on sugar and probably didn't make any pumpkin pie or peach cobbler.

This "thanksgiving" feast was not repeated the following year. Many years passed before the event was repeated. It wasn't until June of 1676 that another Day of thanksgiving was proclaimed. On June 20 of that year the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, held a meeting to determine how best to express thanks for the good fortune that had seen their community securely established. By unanimous vote they instructed Edward Rawson, the clerk, to proclaim June 29 as a day of thanksgiving. A hundred years later, in October of 1777 all 13 colonies joined in a thanksgiving celebration. It also commemorated the patriotic victory over the British at Saratoga. But it was a one-time affair.

Given below are the citations from the two original writings followed by an analysis of the roots of Thanksgiving. Winslow, Mourt's Relation :

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

William Bradford, Of Plymouth Plantation :

"They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their house and dwelling against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck of meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to that proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned by true reports."

It took a very long time for Thanksgiving to become an annual event, for it to have a universally accepted date, and for it to be celebrated as a federal holiday. Various Thanksgiving-type celebrations were held irregularly during the fall months for nearly 150 years before it was suggested by the Continental Congress that the country should have a national day of Thanks. Some historians suggest that this was a political move as much as anything. The emerging country was in need of its own traditions and customs to help create a separate non-English, American identity. Thanksgiving was perfect because it was a way to honor the pilgrims, the people who originally left England to be free of persecution

The celebration, at the time, had a very obvious patriotic and anti-English subtext. People began celebrating Thanksgiving Day more regularly. However, depending on where you were, the day of the celebration might be different. In 1817, New York was the first state to adopt Thanksgiving as an official holiday. By the time the Civil War erupted in the 1860's, every state had also made Thanksgiving a state holiday. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln declared a national day of Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November. Since that time, every president has issued a Thanksgiving Day Proclamation every Thanksgiving, declaring it to be a national day of thanks. In 1939, President Franklin Roosevelt declared that the Thanksgiving would be on the third Thursday in November. Congress approved that declaration two years later in 1941.

The reason for the earlier Thanksgiving celebrations in Canada has often been attributed to the earlier onset of winter in the north, thus ending the harvest season earlier. Thanksgiving in Canada did not have a fixed date until the late 19th century. Prior to Canadian Confederation, many of the individual colonial governors of the Canadian provinces had declared their own days of Thanksgiving. The first official Canadian Thanksgiving occurred on April 15, 1872, when the nation was celebrating the Prince of Wales' recovery from a serious illness. By the end of the 19th century, Thanksgiving Day was normally celebrated on November 6. However, when World War I ended, the Armistice Day holiday was usually held during the same week. To prevent the two holidays from clashing with one another, in 1957 the Canadian Parliament proclaimed Thanksgiving to be observed on its present date on the second Monday of October. Since 1971, when the American Uniform Monday Holiday Act took effect, the American observance of Columbus Day has coincided with the Canadian observance of Thanksgiving.

Much as in Canada, Thanksgiving in the United States was observed on various dates throughout history. From the time of the Founding Fathers until the time of Lincoln, the date Thanksgiving was observed varied from state to state. The final Thursday in November had become the customary date in most U.S. states by the beginning of the 19th century. Thanksgiving was first celebrated on the same date by all states in 1863 by a presidential proclamation of Abraham Lincoln. Influenced by the campaigning of author Sarah Josepha Hale, who wrote letters to politicians for around 40 years trying to make it an official holiday, Lincoln proclaimed the date to be the final Thursday in November in an attempt to foster a sense of American unity between the Northern and Southern states.[28] Because of the ongoing Civil War and the Confederate States of America's refusal to recognize Lincoln's authority, a nationwide Thanksgiving date was not realized until Reconstruction was completed in the 1870s.

On December 26, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a joint resolution of Congress changing the national Thanksgiving Day from the last Thursday in November to the fourth Thursday. Two years earlier, Roosevelt had used a presidential proclamation to try to achieve this change, reasoning that earlier celebration of the holiday would give the country an economic boost.

Beginning in the mid-20th century and perhaps even earlier, the president of the United States has “pardoned” one or two Thanksgiving turkeys each year, sparing the birds from slaughter and sending them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

In many American households, the family feast is an important tradition during Thanksgiving. The entire family sits at the table during dinner and offer prayer to the Lord Almighty for his continuous grace. It is also a time for relatives living in different places to come together and celebrate.
Turkey has become a Thanksgiving staple so ubiquitous it is all but synonymous with the holiday. Today, nearly 90 percent of Americans eat the bird—whether roasted, baked or deep-fried—on Thanksgiving, according to the National Turkey Federation. Other traditional foods include stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Volunteering is a common Thanksgiving Day activity, and communities often hold food drives and host free dinners for the less fortunate. At the meal, many families observe the ritual of going around the table to express what each member is thankful for. Some family members will travel long distances to attend this yearly reunion.
During the meal, the family may break the turkey wishbone. Does your family fight over the wishbone from the Thanksgiving turkey? Known as a "lucky break" the tradition of tugging on either end of a fowl's bone to win the larger piece and its accompanying "wish" dates back to the Etruscans of 322 B.C. The Romans brought the tradition with them when they conquered England and the English colonists carried the tradition  Whoever pulls away the larger piece gets a wish granted

Parades have also become an integral part of the holiday in cities and towns across the United States. Presented by Macy’s department store since 1924, New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade is the largest and most famous, attracting some 2 to 3 million spectators along its 2.5-mile route and drawing an enormous television audience. It typically features marching bands, performers, elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters. The traditional Thanksgiving parade probably started with President Lincoln proclaiming it an official day. The full- dress parade is a way to display the country's military strength and discipline. The main aim of such parades is to lift the spirits of the spectators, provide them with wholesome entertainment. In the present day, parades are accompanied with musical shows and celebrities.

Throughout the United States, football on Thanksgiving Day is as big a part of the celebration as turkey and pumpkin pie. Dating back to the first intercollegiate football championship held on Thanksgiving Day in 1876, traditional holiday football rivalries have become so popular that a reporter once called Thanksgiving "a holiday granted by the State and the Nation to see a game of football." The traditional game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers continues. One of the most memorable games having been played on this day. If your Thanksgiving celebrations are like my families, most of the football fans head right for the television as soon as they hit the door.

In addition to these traditions folks do other things as well. Many churches hold a special Thanksgiving Day service centered on giving thanks to God. Some will observe the holiday through charity work. Common activities include serving and preparing meals at homeless shelters and soup kitchens, organizing food and clothing drives, and participating in community outreach programs.

Whatever you do with your holiday this week, stay safe and thankful. Enjoy time with those you care about and have some wonderful food. Happy Thanksgiving from Cactus Tactical.

To watch a fun video about cuisine and more history you can watch that here:

To get a head start on getting your Tactical Christmas shopping done make sure to visit us here:

Labels: , , , , , ,

Shawn in the Korengal Valley, Kunar Province, Afghanistan.

For more info on these and other weapons
Technical specs compiled from:

"The appearance of U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) visual information does not imply or constitute DoD endorsement."


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home