Sarah Josepha Hale, 1865
"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together."
Edward Winslow, 1621
Thanksgiving, originally celebrated in 1621, is hot on our heels; the Wampanoag Indians and the colonists at Plymouth ate a meal of thanksgiving. It was an English tradition to commemorate a bountiful fall harvest. They acknowledged God during this banquet for blessing them. Massassoit, Squanto, and Samoset were Indian chiefs that attended the festivity. The celebration lasted 3 days.
The colonies generally had a special day or days for thanksgiving; this time of thanksgiving wasn't the same for each colony. These times were marked with people fasting and saying prayers. Thanksgiving for good crops, a colony subscribing to a state constitution, and military triumphs were celebrated.
- In 1671, the governing body of Charlestown, Massachusetts decreed the 29th of June as a special day to give thanks. It was the first officially registered Thanksgiving.
- On the 3rd of October of 1789, George Washington endorsed a proclamation dubbed General Thanksgiving. He said it was a day of publick thanksgiving and prayer. This was the first time it was proclaimed since the constitution was in force.
- In 1863, President Lincoln set forth the 4th Tuesday in November as the day of Thanksgiving.
- In 1777, all of the colonies observed a thanksgiving to rejoice and commemorate the British surrendering to the colonies during the Revolutionary War.
So what has this got to do with art? Well, many artists have produced Thanksgiving art, and it is a good thing to know history, and why we celebrate Thanksgiving, which inspires the art. Your children may enjoy making some Thanksgiving drawings.
You may be interested in this article: Thanksgiving: Norman Rockwell
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