IS THANKSGIVING A PAGAN HOLIDAY?
By James Trimm
The Pilgrims were a splinter group from the fringes of the Puritan movement. Many of them were leaving a Britain which was too politically difficult for them, to start a “perfect” new world.
The first feast lasted three days when thay celebrated their first harvest in 1621,which, thanks to a little help from their native American friends, was abundant.
Thanksgiving as a “holiday” comes from a cross between a conventional harvest festival and the belief of the Pilgrim Fathers when, after serious hardship which had whittled their numbers down from 105 to 43, they finally realized their settlement was going to make it.
Thanksgiving was influenced in part by the English and continental European Harvest festivals popular in the Puritan movement, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on Thanksgiving weekend and scriptural lections drawn from the biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.
President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated on the final Thursday in November 1863. U.S. Presidents annually declared a Thanksgiving Day each year on the final Thursday of November. In 1938 F.D.R. broke with this tradition, moving Thanksgiving to the next-to-last Thursday in November.
On October 6, 1941 the U.S. Legislature passed a joint resolution setting this last-Thursday date for the holiday beginning in 1942. But, in December of that year the Senate passed an amendment requiring that Thanksgiving be observed each year on the fourth Thursday of November (This was sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes the next to last). On December 26, 1941 F.D.R. signed the bill into law, for the first time making the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law.
Thanksgiving is not of pagan origin, it originates from the Puritan pilgrims who were influenced by the biblical harvest festival of Sukkot.
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