Every year on the 4th Thursday of November, American tradition of Thanksgiving comes alive with great food, festivities, parades, football games and many unique customs that are expressed as we celebrate another year of bounties and blessings with family and dear friends, and the one ingredient you won’t find inside the stuffing resides within the hearts and minds of all who greet this holiday as another consecrated year, for Thanksgiving represents the connection with the human spirit.

As we bow our heads during grace, it is my families tradition to say aloud what we are grateful for, time spent at this sacred dinner table usually lasting hours as we reminisce back to yesteryear with fond memories of the souls who shared our lives and lessons along this earthy journey.

There is magic in the air, mixed with the aromas of intoxicating delights, and an anticipation mounting as the holiday season welcomes the hidden hopes, dreams and wishes for prosperity and healing not only for ourselves, yet for humanity.

All across America, we celebrate individually, and collectively, it has been our tradition since the Colonist and the Wampanoag Indians came together in 1621 for their three day festival of hunting, entertaining and eating to give thanks and appreciation for the growth and bounties of their successful harvest. It would take over 200+ years before this federal holiday would be recognized as an important yearly date on the calendar.

There was no Turkey on the harvest table of the colonists and the Indians, their menu consisted of venison, lobster, indian corn, fowl and barley.

On November 26th 1789, President George Washington, announced the First Ever Thanksgiving Holiday, which did not become an annual tradition until the 19th century.

Sarah Josepha Buel Hale

In 1827, an American writer and author of the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb” was inspired by a diary of “The Pilgrims Life” and waged a campaign as she petitioned President Abraham Lincoln to make Thanksgiving an official holiday in the U.S. She is known as the Godmother of Thanksgiving.

In 1863 during the midst of the civil war, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed Thanksgiving holiday would be held on the final Thursday of the month of November.

Sarah Josepha Buel Hale’s 30 years of petitioning paid off and to add to her credit, she created what we know today as this traditional holiday menu, consisting of turkey, stuffing, bread, pumpkin pie, mashed potatoes, corn. The New Jersey Star-Ledger, a newspaper at the time of the Civil War, reported that “Cranberries officially became part of the national Thanksgiving tradition in 1864 when General Ulysses S. Grant ordered cranberries be served to soldiers as part of their holiday meal.

In 1939, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt decided to move the date of this holiday up by a week to the 3rd Thursday in November to give the depression era retailers more time to prepare for the Christmas holiday, yet this was highly criticized by Americans, so on November of 1941, FDR signed a Bill, that Thanksgiving would be held on the 4th Thursday of November, where it stays today.

The creation of Thanksgiving holiday has under gone a transformation process stemming from the first settlers to the descending generations of Americans, as our menus, ideologies and traditions alter, there is still a common thread, that is praise to our creator for the bounties we receive and unconditionally share with our fellow brothers and sisters.

In 1989 President George HW Bush issued the First Official Pardon to a Turkey.  Although this began with President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, and is a continued tradition each year by the current President of the United States.

Let us not forget the wishbone, also known as the furcula, is taken from the carcass of the turkey and dried out. Two people hang on to each side of the wishbone and crack it apart and whomever gets the bigger piece assumes his/her secret wish will be granted.

This tradition actually goes back thousands of years. Many ancient civilizations passed it down to one another and eventually it got passed down to Americans.

For Further Insight:
Congress Establishes Thanksgiving