Lying Media Bastards

November 20, 2006

Yearly Thanksgiving Post


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Here it is, the same Thanksgiving post I put up every year, based upon this article, about the history and evolution of the holiday.

1621- “The First Thanksgiving”
November 1777- The Continental Congress declares a day of Thanksgiving to thank God for an American military victory over a powerful British general.
July 1861- Confederate Congress declares a day of Thanksgiving to thank God for their victory over the Union in the First Battle of Bull Run
April 1862- President Lincoln declares day of Thanksgiving to thank God for the Union victory over the Confederacy at Shiloh
September 1862- Confederate Congress declares a day of Thanksgiving to thank God for their victory over the Union in the Second Battle of Bull Run
August 1863- President Lincoln declares day of Thanksgiving to thank God for the Union victory over the Confederacy at Gettysburg
December 1865- President Johnson establishes a national Thanksgiving holiday to celebrate the Union victory in the Civil War
October 1931- President Hoover becomes the first president to actually make a rhetorical connection between the national holiday of Thanksgiving and the pilgrims

In other words, Thanksgiving was first the “thanks, Indians, for helping us colonists survive in your harsh New World” feast. Then, for around 240 years, Thanksgiving was a string of unrelated “thank you, God, for letting us slaughter the people who disagreed with us” days. Then for another 60+ years, it was the “thanks, God, for letting the North beat the South in the Civil War” holiday. And now, for the past 70, it’s been the Indian & Pilgrim thing again. Well, the Pilgrim thing coupled with pleasant/unpleasant family reunions and the baking of turkeys, pies and casseroles.

[update]

This post by poputonian argues that there’s one more step to the history. Apparently, the 1621 “first Thanksgiving” was preceded by a group of Spanish settlers who had a feast to thank god near what today is El Paso, Texas, in the year 1598. The event seems completely unconnected to the Puritans’ Thanksgiving, or to the known evolution of the holiday myth, but it seems worth mentioning just the same.

Posted by Jake on November 20, 2006 11:37 pm

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