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From ancient times, Native People of North America have held ceremonies to give thanks for successful harvests, for the hope of a good growing season in the early spring, and for other good fortune such as the birth of a child.Giving thanks was, and still is, the primary reason for ceremonies or celebrations.
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Giving thanks for the Creator’s gifts had always been a part of Wampanoag daily life.
In a controversial move, Franklin Delano Roosevelt lengthened the Christmas shopping season by declaring Thanksgiving for the next-to-the-last Thursday in November.
Two years later, in 1941, Congress responded by permanently establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday in the month.
In the footnotes that accompanied Winslow’s letter, Young writes, “This was the first Thanksgiving, the harvest festival of New England.
On this occasion they no doubt feasted on the wild turkey as well as venison.” PURITAN HOLIDAY The American Thanksgiving also has its origin in the faith practices of Puritan New England, where strict Calvinist doctrine sanctioned only the Sabbath, fast days and thanksgivings as religious holidays or “holy days.” To the Puritans, a true “thanksgiving” was a day of prayer and pious humiliation, thanking God for His special Providence.Neither Lincoln nor his successors, however, made the holiday a fixed annual event.A President still had to proclaim Thanksgiving each year, and the last Thursday in November became the customary date.To these people of strong Christian faith, this was not merely a revel; it was also a joyous outpouring of gratitude.The arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans brought new Thanksgiving traditions to the American scene.that you might on our behalf give God thanks who hath dealt so favourably with us.” In 1622, without his approval, Winslow’s letter was printed in a pamphlet that historians commonly call (1841).