One of the most iconic American holidays is Thanksgiving Day that is celebrated on November 26th. The origins of this holiday bring us to the first days of colonization of the American continent when pilgrims arrived on the land. With the course of time many details of the story were forgotten, others were misquoted, still, there are some unchanging foundations that still tell the story of this holiday as it is.
This holiday is surrounded by myths and misinterpretations. The unvarnished truth is not as pleasant as a common fairy tale how Native Americans saved starving pilgrims who, in turn, taught aboriginals new religion and they lived together happily ever after. In fact, there were many conflicts, turf battles and oppositions to the spreading of new religion. One of the huge problems that pilgrims had brought from the Old World was a set of diseases from which Native Americans had no immune. The Indians could shoot lonely hunters or took them hostage and colonist took lands that belonged to the Indians – it is obvious that they had a lot of issues at that time.
Agricultural traditions and skills of aboriginals were developed throughout the centuries of living on that land, the number of foods and products really had astonished colonizers because they had no idea about such grain varieties and vegetables. Still, pilgrims learned a lot from Iroquois Indians how to plant unfamiliar crops and how to hunt more efficiently. Still, one of the main myths of the Thanksgiving is that it was one exclusive feast by which pilgrims wanted to express gratitude to the tribe of Iroquois – as a matter of fact such harvest celebrations were traditional for Indians and they were celebrated every year. Another variation of this myth is that Indians have found pilgrims the very same day that they have arrived to the shores of the North America and immediately brought them food as pilgrims had no fresh products.
Tradition of celebration Thanksgiving was proposed by George Washington and established after the end of the Civil War in 1863 by Abraham Lincoln.
Today this holiday has almost lost its original meaning and not many people remember about the real background of it. Nowadays it is just another occasion to gather the whole family around one table, eat good food and tell interesting stories.
There are certain traditions of this holiday. Thus, a Thanksgiving table is impossible without turkey with a cranberry sauce, just like Christmas is impossible without a fir tree with decorations and presents. Still, this holiday is a perfect time to sit and recall what we are truly grateful for in our life – that is why it has different meaning for different people.
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