Thanksgiving – a Special American Holiday
Posted on November 29, 2013
By Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb
“There is one day that is ours.Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.” – O Henry – American author.
After the road races, football games and Macy’s Parade, most Americans sit down to a lovely Thanksgiving Day dinner. In its purest form, this is a day to come together with friends and family to give thanks for the bounty of the Lord, a plentiful harvest and what is truly most important in life – the health and well-being of loved ones.
History tells us the first Thanksgiving was held in 1621 by the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians at Plymouth, Massachusetts. In 1863, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving a national holiday to be observed each November. Centuries later, and now celebrated in different forms elsewhere, Thanksgiving remains a special holiday in the hearts of Americans with each family passing on their own rituals, traditions and cherished recipes from generation to generation.
In our family, homemade banana bread and my mother’s hamburg dressing – a recipe passed on to her from her mother and having received a honorable mention in Yankee Magazine several years ago – were among the signature holiday aromas. Most of all, however, the spirit of the many Thanksgiving Day dinners hosted by my parents had the deepest meaning , eloquently summed up this year by my nephew Mike – “Everyone was always welcomed – no matter what; and, we all sat together, that is just – the way it was.”
Over time, marriages and the melding of families have created new traditions, such as pumpkin seeds baking in the oven after the carving of the pumpkins for pumpkin pie in the days leading up to the holiday. And, new dishes like ‘Michelle’s cauliflower salad’ will likely become part of tradition.
What remains constant all these centuries after the first Thanksgiving and as families meld and traditions evolve is – gratitude. In whatever way it is celebrated, gratitude for each moment remains the centerpiece of Thanksgiving – this very special American holiday.