Many of us have our grade school memories of Thanksgiving, it’s all about Native Americans and Pilgrims sitting around a big table; the 1621 Plymouth colonists celebrated the first Thanksgiving with the Wampanoag Tribe. This celebration organized by Governor William Bradford lasted three days and included harvest from the colonist “fowling mission” and five deer provided by the colonist new native allies.
This tradition continued in the following years, until the revolution when the Continental Congress designated one or more days of Thanksgiving a year. In 1789, George Washington issued a proclamation recommending “to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving”. Many other Presidents issued proclamations for Thanksgiving and most people believe it was Abraham Lincoln Thanksgiving Proclamation which stated the formal holiday.
It’s good to look back at the traditions developed over time. It is good to look back over our personal history as well. Why do you do the things you do around the holiday? Why do we always make the same foods for Thanksgiving? My family has the tradition of making my grandmother’s stuffing. We call it Hungarian Stuffing, but I think it is just because this was the way my grandmother made stuffing and she was Hungarian.
Traditions are good, they ground us, they point to our past and history; this history makes us who we are today. Sometimes the past is good, other times not so much. But all in all, our past compiles to make us who we are today (See what I did there, I used a computer-y term).
This past year has been decisive, driving a wedge between many of us. Let’s take this time of thanksgiving to reach out and talk to someone who we may not have talked to recently due to one reason or another. It might be vast political or social views, it might be because we have gone in different directions with life choices. If we connect and concentrate on the things that bring us together rather then drive us apart, I believe you will find we have more in common then we have different.
The Pilgrims and the Native Americans had vast culture differences but they came together to celebrate. Our divided country of the mid 1800s was highly polarized and yet Lincoln called us to come together to give thanks:
And I do further recommend to my fellow-citizens aforesaid that on that occasion they do reverently humble themselves in the dust and from thence offer up penitent and fervent prayers and supplications to the Great Disposer of Events for a return of the inestimable blessings of peace, union, and harmony throughout the land which it has pleased Him to assign as a dwelling place for ourselves and for our posterity throughout all generations.
– Abraham Lincoln’s 1862 Thanksgiving Proclamation
So from all of us at Cage Data, we would like to wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.