For many people in the US, the meaning of Thanksgiving usually includes feasting, four-day weekends, football games, floats, family reunions, or a forerunner to Christmas festivities. The “first Thanksgiving,” however, was neither a feast nor a holiday, but a simple gathering between the surviving Pilgrim colonists and the native Americans as they survived a harsh winter the and yielded a bountiful harvest in 1621. In celebration, a traditional English harvest festival, lasting three days brought the Pilgrims and natives to unite in a “thanksgiving” observance. “Thanksgiving” was not celebrated regularly again until Congress sanctioned it as a legal holiday on the third Thursday in November in 1941.
The meaning of Thanksgiving has undergone numerous transitions — an expression of gratitude for survival, a council’s recognition of its flourishing community, submission of the local natives, the defeat over the British, resulting in a collection of our nation’s traditions and values. Over the centuries, families added their customs to the Thanksgiving celebration, preserving what they held most precious.
The most common traditions include:
To gather in unity – It is refreshing and invigorating when people come together, in celebration of a common purpose. It is a reconciliation of differences as well as a time of healing. In sharing our victories as well as our struggles, we find strength and hope.
To teach the young – In stories retold, each generation brings purpose and significance to the richness of their heritage. Faded pictures, sentimental knick-knacks, even the prayer of Thanksgiving before the meal all form a Thanksgiving family legacy.
To prepare the heart – In gratitude, we humbly reflect upon all the gifts (family, friends, health) that saturate our lives. By “giving-thanks” we choose to extend ourselves and give to others less fortunate. Out of the abundance of our hearts, we are able to offer our resources to help others.
At WITTI, we are thankful for the support and kind words we have received from our customers and our partners. We wouldn’t be here without you today. We truly value each and every one of you so thank you in helping make our dreams a reality. Please join us is giving thanks to someone that has made an impact in your life this year. You would be surprised how far a simple thank you and a smile can go.