A while back, when the covid pandemic was at its peak, I took part in a 'ten-day' reenactor photo challenge where we who reenact and do living history were asked to keep up the passion for our hobby with reenactment images from past events due to everything being cancelled.
Of course, I took part, but I didn't end it in ten days; I, instead, did a complete 365 days of this photo challenge, including historical information with each, which I really enjoyed very much. And on the 1st day of each month I did a blog post on the previous month's Facebook photo challenge photos and included the blurbs I wrote about each.
Now, no, I'm not redoing that again. Instead, for the week leading up to and including Thanksgiving I decided to celebrate this holiday/holy day, which many believe is overlooked due to it being so close to, and associated with, Christmas, by posting history bits on the holiday - a sort of history-in-a-nutshell.
I have written about Thanksgiving's histories before:
its Colonial past
its Victorian past.
I've also written about my own various ways of celebrating, including my anti-Black Friday Greenfield Village excursions, of which I have links for at the bottom of this post.
So, this year, for this holiday that is said to be overlooked (of which I disagree, but that's another story), I have here what I've been posting on my Facebook page on the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
And here are my various celebratory posts, beginning with the cover picture that I
posted on Friends of Greenfield Village on Saturday, November 19:
Tis the season of giving thanks, and we are headed quickly toward a Thanksgiving celebration!
Fall harvest festivals had been celebrated mainly in New England on different dates in different states. But Sarah Josepha Hale, author of the nursery rhyme 'Mary Had a Little Lamb,' urged President Lincoln to make Thanksgiving a national holiday, perhaps to help bring our Union together during this tumultuous time of the Civil War. In her letter she convinced Lincoln to support legislation establishing a day of Thanks as a national holiday, which he proclaimed on October 3, 1863: "I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”
(President Washington, in the middle of the Revolutionary War, also gave a Thanksgiving Proclamation: “In Congress November 1, 1777
The committee appointed to prepare a recommendation to the several states, to set apart a day of public Thanksgiving…recommended to the legislative or executive powers of these United States, to set apart Thursday, the 18th day of December next, for solemn thanksgiving and praise…”
But this proclamation was not for an annual Federal-type holiday like Abraham Lincoln’s).
So with the harvest in, the end of November was, for many farmers, a special season of celebration and feasting, and for those who lived during that time, the holiday had much more preparation than the modern last-minute-run-to-the-grocery-store-to-get-everything-you-need-for-Thanksgiving-dinner that is so common today.
Preparing food in the 19th century was not simply a matter of making ingredients palatable. It also required a staggering amount of skills such as plucking feathers from fowl, butchering animals large and small, making bread by flour ground at the gristmill, milking, making cheese, grinding corn and preparing the other vegetables, chopping kindling, keeping a fire burning indefinitely, and understanding how to adjust the temperature of the coal or wood stove...or a frontier hearth.
And on my own Facebook page:
Sunday, November 20 - Day One
I am very excited for our harvest feast of Thanksgiving this week! My favorite meal of the year - - -
Monday, November 21 - Day Two
Did you know that there are a few songs written specifically for Thanksgiving? One is "Over The River and Through The Woods."
Well...since you asked - - here's a background story...
It was in 1789 when the fourth Thursday in November was first proclaimed a Thanksgiving holiday by George Washington as president, with other presidents following suit. But it wasn't until 1870 that Congress made it a permanent national holiday.
Numerous countries around the world, including Canada, Brazil, Liberia, also celebrate Thanksgiving as a national holiday, and England, among many others, still celebrates a harvest festival.
Celebrating Thanksgiving is in keeping with a long tradition dating back centuries of celebrating the harvest and giving thanks for a successful bounty of crops, including Native Americans, the people of the Middle East, Africans, and Asians.
Also on Monday November 21:
Monday Night at the Giorlando Theater -
tonight we watched "Desperate Crossing" - -
Part movie-part documentary (otherwise known as a docu-drama), this film (believe it or not produced by The History Channel) of the pilgrims is two and a half hours of a well-known and very important part of our American history, although you may not realize how little you actually do know of these separatists and of the times they lived. In fact, it certainly is more movie than documentary and, although interspersed throughout are historians filling in the gaps, this docu-drama is as engulfing and riveting as any full-length period movie I have seen. The lives and times of these early European settlers are authentically portrayed by use of English Shakespearean actors, and the quality shows. Never have I seen any other film put flesh on the bones of the pilgrims to the extent this one does. A social history extravaganza!
The clothing, lighting, effects (especially while on the Mayflower), and, at times, even some of the speech patterns are reflected fairly accurately. I did not see the typical revisionist history so often reflected in many of today's historical depictions. They were very religious folk bent on keeping their practices, even if they had to cross the ocean to do it, and this movie shows that in no uncertain terms.
The Indian/Wampanoag dramatization was done very well for the most part, although I would have preferred to have their speech in their original (or close to their original) language and include the use of sub-titles.
That is my own small complaint.
But it is a fair representation of this point in America's history, one that Plimouth Plantation worked along side the Massachusetts Wampanoag Tribe to create.
For teachers and lovers of history I recommend this docu-drama very highly, for I believe it's the best out there at this time. A wonderful way to learn about our past.
|The front cover of the DVD...|
|...and the back.|
Tuesday, November 22 - Day Three
Day three of my historical Thanksgiving posts:
During the early 1700s, individual colonies commonly observed days of Thanksgiving throughout each year, and the governors of Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire began to make proclamations for an autumn Thanksgiving celebration, though we might not recognize a traditional Thanksgiving Day from that period, as it was not a day marked by plentiful food and drink as is today's custom, but rather a day set aside for prayer and fasting; a true “thanksgiving” was a day of prayer and pious humiliation, thanking God for His special Providence.
Then, perhaps after dinner (quote from 1796): "Lydia and Polly have prevailed upon Seth to put the team of horses into the old sleigh and are at this moment enjoying all the transports of a Thanksgiving Sleighride." This coincides with yesterday's historical note of "Jingle Bells," written decades later, originally being a Thanksgiving song.
Posted on Friends of Daggett House on Wednesday, November 23 - and on my own page the same day:
After the Revolutionary War, just the fact that the former colonists even had a national day of thanksgiving was a tremendous step forward in creating an American identity, and the former colonials had previously celebrated individually or as part of the British Empire. Now they had experienced an event - the War and Independence - that had affected them all and formalized a celebration that involved each. Americans had just taken a major step on the trail from colonies to states and from states to nation.
Thank you to Lynn Anderson for taking a wonderful picture…and not minding my Daggett modification (lol).
Posted on Friends of Greenfield Village on Wednesday, November 23:
On Thanksgiving Day you’ll want to be awake by five o’clock in the morning to get the range going good and hot, for it must last the rest of the day. And it takes an hour or longer for it to heat properly.
Also, rooms not normally used were opened and heated, and fires had to be started if the day was particularly cold.
Preparing food in the 19th century was not simply a matter of making ingredients palatable. It also required a staggering arrange of skills such as plucking feathers from fowl, butchering animals large and small, making bread, milking, making cheese, grinding corn and preparing the other vegetables, chopping kindling, keeping a fire burning indefinitely, adjusting the burners and temperature of the stove...
For Thanksgiving Day 2022 on my own Facebook page:
I would also like to add one of the most heartfelt notes I have seen about Thanksgiving was written on Thursday, November 21, 1793 by 75 year old Samuel Lane of Stratham, New Hampshire.
Here it is, in part:
"As I was musing on my Bed being awake as Usual before Daylight; recollecting the Many Mercies and good things I enjoy for which I ought to be thankful this Day;
The Life & health of myself and family, and also of so many of my Children, grand Children and great grandchildren...
for my Bible and Many other good and Useful Books, Civil and Religious Priviledges...
for my Land, House and Barn and other Buildings, & that they are preserv'd from fire & other accidents.
for my wearing Clothes to keep me warm, my Bed & Bedding to rest upon.
for my Cattle, Sheep & Swine & other Creatures, for my support.
for my Corn, Wheat, Rye Grass and Hay; Wool, flax, Syder, Apples, Pumpkins, Potatoes, cabages, tirnips, Carrots, Beets, peaches and other fruit.
For my Clock and Watch to measure my passing time by Day and by Night.
Wood, Water, Butter, Cheese, Milk, Pork, Beefe, & fish, &c.
for Tea, Sugar, Rum, Wine, Gin, Molasses, peper, Spice & Money for to bye other Necessaries and to pay my Debts and Taxes &c.
for my lether, Lamp oyl & Candles, Husbandry Utensils, & other tools of every sort...
Bless the Lord O my Soul and all that is within me Bless his holy Name..."
~And there you have Thanksgiving in its glory.
My own past celebrations of Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving WeekendTravelling Through Time on Black Friday
2015 - Welcome Christmas: The Past Meets the Present (Black Friday GFV Visit)
Now, I will most certainly continue to celebrate the weekend following Thanksgiving in the coming years as long as I am able with Christmas Tree cutting and decorating and Greenfield Village visits. Yes, I plan to continue on this year and all the following years as long as I am able.
My own personal tributes to this wonderful day where we continue to celebrate the harvest, for that is exactly what it is: celebrating the harvest and giving thanks and glory to God for His bounty.
Until next time, see you in time.
~ ~ ~