Thanksgiving, it seems, has been evolving for a very long time. Consider:
Turkeys have wandered through America for the past 10 million years, fossil records tell us.
Feasting and paying tribute to the gods after a fall harvest were part of the cultures of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
There is the Jewish agricultural festival of Sukkot, originally considered as thanksgiving for the fruit harvest.
President Abraham Lincoln accepted the idea of making Thanksgiving a national holiday to unite the country during the Civil War.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt later tried to move the holiday one week earlier to stimulate shopping during the Great Depression. (Americans revolted and Congress permanently set the fourth Thursday in November as the holiday in 1941.)
President Thomas Jefferson said that the idea of Thanksgiving was “the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard.”
And so, with all of the traditions and changes and varied cultural foundations surrounding the national holiday, certainly our own familial differences should pale in comparison as we celebrate with family and friends.
Yes, sometimes that celebration can be a challenge. But when that happens, be inspired by this: Our own Thanksgiving Day is typically an hours-long event. In November 1621, the year considered to be the first Thanksgiving, the sharing of a meal between the colonists and their Native American allies proved so successful they extended the event — to three days.