We are, by no means, historians here at Ashworth Creative – though we ARE phenomenal storytellers. Granted our web developer, Tim has published a handful of Wikipedia articles I do not believe that qualifies any one of us to do what we are about to do. We apologize in advance.
With that said, Ashworth Creative presents to you a very “loose” recollection of the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday. Here is our five-minute rundown of nearly 400 years of turkey, New England colonists, Native Americans, Plymouth Rock, bountiful harvests, more turkey, scheduling mishaps, American Presidents, nursery rhymes (yes, nursery rhymes) and well, more turkey.
The Ashworthy Gobble-Gobble timeline:
Pilgrims invite local Native Americans to share a meal with them in honor of the first successful harvest of the New World colony. Presumed location: Plymouth Rock. This is in Massachusetts, btw. And if you didn’t know that, you should probably click on this link. It’ll make you feel better.
Three days later:
The pilgrims and Native Americans finally decide to wrap up the party after three consecutive days of hunting (primarily deer, NOT turkey), eating and other forms of entertainment (probably best left ambiguous). Let us consider reinstating this three-day policy, shall we?
Many moons later:
The pilgrims got busy? Thanksgiving celebrations cease for nearly 200 years.
On November 26th, President of the United States, George Washington proclaims the first nation-wide Thanksgiving celebration in America as “ a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favours of Almighty God.” Sadly, the holiday still does not catch on as an annual tradition. =(
THANKFULLY (pun-intended) American writer, Sarah Josepha Hale – author of the widely-known nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” – becomes inspired by a diary of pilgrim life. Hale campaigns for nearly 30 years in hopes to recreate the first thanksgiving feast between Native Americans and pilgrim colonists. Thank you, innovative and forward-thinking Sarah J. Hale for this poetic portion of American history.
In the meantime, Hale also publishes recipes for turkey, pumpkin pie and stuffing – ironically later becoming staple dishes of the modern Thanksgiving meal. Bless your heart & bless my belly!
In the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln announces that the nation would celebrate Thanksgiving every year on the final Thursday of November. One of many reasons why, you my fine sir are deserving of cinematic idolization. And no, hunting vampires is not on that list. If Abe destroyed all vampires, millions of teenage girls would be robbed of a sparkly Edward Cullen and I would be forced to forego the joys of watching The Vampire Diaries every Thursday. Not happening!
In one foul swoop, this iconic celebration was “bumped” on the American calendar. President Franklin D. Roosevelt moved the holiday up one week to give Depression Era retailers more time to make money during the pre-Christmas shopping season. The move was widely criticized. **To anyone reading this blog, please understand that shopping on Thanksgiving and Black Friday is a horrific and unfortunate act of consumerism. You CAN change it by staying home with your loved ones and investing time in the people around you instead of things. You will also avoid being trampled in your local Walmart. Lastly, no one wants to work at midnight on a National Holiday meant to give thanks. It is just cruel. **
FDR redeems himself and signs a bill fixing the holiday to the fourth Thursday in November. And the good people of America rejoice.
Things get weird. President George H.W. Bush grants the first official pardon to a turkey. I really…don’t know. Every November thereafter, every Oval Office occupant gives amnesty to one or two turkeys. They are then sent off to retirement on a farm rather than the dinner table. If only my facial expression could do the typing.
Just one day prior to Thanksgiving, as I create this sorry yet fun excuse for a timeline, I’ve come to realize a few things. No, I don’t have a 6-figure salary and live in a lavish-house surrounded by futile amenities and luxuries. But I DO have a job (a career in fact), I am able to pay my bills & save a bit here and there, and I live in a house that is truly a “home” surrounded by people who love and support me. I have everything that I need. And everything that I need is much more than what the average person has. It’s perfectly natural to whine here and there, or to wish for something more. To long for more, or for better proves that you have ambition + passion in your heart and goals on your mind. Unfortunately, it is not as common that we find ourselves grateful for the good that we do possess in our lives. As you read this, please take a moment to be still. Look around. Write down what you see. Take that list of items, whether it is things, people, creatures or something else entirely, and study it. I bet it is a lengthy one. I bet that the list you’ve compiled happens to be much longer than the list of many other people today. I am not here to make you feel bad, gluttonous or unappreciative. I am not preaching of behalf of third world countries. I am not asking that you donate funds to relief, poverty or disease. I am simply asking that each day you choose one thing – just one – that you are thankful for, happy to have, or proud to be a part of. And with that gratefulness in your heart, I just ask that you live accordingly. Happy, healthy and compassionate.