Koume Ono Parodi
Thanksgiving Day is a holiday celebrated primarily in the United States and Canada. Thanksgiving is celebrated each year on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday ofNovember in the United States. Thanksgiving in Canada falls on the same day as Columbus Day in the United States. Because of the longstanding traditions of the holiday, the celebration often extends to the weekend that falls closest to the day it is celebrated.
The story of thanksgiving really starts in March 1621, when an Indian walked into the Plymouth settlement. The Pilgrims were frightened untilthe Indian called out “welcome” in English. His name was Samoset and he was an Abnaki Indian. He had learned English from the captains of fishing boats that had sailed along the coast. A few days later, Samoset returned with another Indian named Squanto, who spoke even better English.
Squanto’s importance to the pilgrims was enormous and without his help they would not have survived. He taughtthe pilgrims how to tap the maple trees for sap, which plants were poisonous, and which plants had medicinal powers. He taught them how to plant Indian corn, by heaping the earth into low mounds with several seed and fish in each mound, so that the decaying fish fertilized the corn. He also taught them to plant other crops with the corn.
The harvest in October was very successful, and thepilgrims found themselves with enough food to store for winter months. There was corn, fruits, and vegetables, fish to be packed in salt, and meat to be cured over smoky fires. The pilgrims had much to celebrate, they had built new homes, they had harvested enough food to keep themselves during the long winter to come, and they were at peace with their Indian neighbors.
In the United States, themodern Thanksgiving holiday tradition traces its origins to a 1621 celebration at Plymouth in present-day Massachusetts. There is also evidence for an earlier harvest celebration on the continent by Spanish explorers in Florida during 1565, as well as thanksgiving feasts in the Virginia Colony. The initial thanksgiving observance at Virginia in 1619 was prompted by the colonists' leaders on theanniversary of the settlement. The 1621 Plymouth feast and thanksgiving was prompted by a good harvest. In later years, the tradition was continued by civil leaders such as Governor Bradford who planned a thanksgiving celebration and fast in 1623. While initially, the Plymouth colony did not have enough food to feed half of the 102 colonists, the Wampanoag Native Americans helpedthe Pilgrims by providing seeds and teaching them to fish. The practice of holding an annual harvest festival like this did not become a regular affair in New England until the late 1660s.
According to historian Jeremy Bangs, director of the Leiden American Pilgrim Museum, the Pilgrims may have been influenced by watching the annual services of Thanksgiving for the relief of the siege of Leiden in 1574,while they were staying in Leiden.
The claim of where the first Thanksgiving was held in the United States, and even the Americas has often been a subject of debate. Author and teacher Robyn Gioia and Michael Gannon, of the University of Florida, have argued that the earliest attested "Thanksgiving" celebration in what is now the United States was celebrated bythe Spanish on September 8, 1565 in what is now Saint Augustine, Florida.
Similarly, many historians point out that the first thanksgiving celebration in the United States was held in Virginia, and not in Plymouth. Thanksgiving services were routine in what was to become the Commonwealth of Virginia as early as 1607. A day of Thanksgiving was codified in the founding charter of Berkeley...