Thanksgiving is a strange holiday. It nominally commemorates a celebratory harvest dinner hosted by the Massachusetts Puritans in the fall of 1621, to which local Native Americans were invited in a spirit of friendship and gratitude for their help surviving harsh weather and difficulty farming in a foreign land. Such comity didn’t last very long, but of course it makes a wonderful myth. That said, Thanksgiving as such wasn’t regularly celebrated until November 1863, when Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a day of prayer and Thanksgiving amidst the Civil War. Debates over the holiday’s rituals and dates weren’t formally settled until 1941, amidst another destructive war, when Congress agreed that it should fall on the third Thanksgiving in November. Today it’s mostly a celebration of family, food and a prelude to the Christmas season (though even that’s questionable looking at all the Christmas decorations you’ll see as early as October), which can be pleasant or excruciating depending on your .
Oh, and friendship with the Indians? Well, they don’t really matter any more – they’re just a prop in your kid’s Thanksgiving pageant. If they’re lucky.
Anyway, discuss History or whatever. I’ll pop in when I can.