Thursday, November 22, 2007

Social Disturbances causes Economic Progress

Except US and Canada (who celebrate it on a different day), I dont think Thanksgiving as a holiday is celebrated anywhere else.Never knew it in India except through Dennis the Menace comics. Whats more, Lincoln proclaimed it to be last thursday of November which FDR amended to be the 4th Thursday of November. Cool. The power to contrive a holiday for convenience is so great (I aint complaining..more power to the philosophy of convenience)

Its a nice holiday weekend for travel but come to think of its origins its just a Harvest festival much like Sankranti/Pongal/Baisakhi/Lori/etc., except that instead of copying our so-called "pagan" roots it was re-created by so-called "pilgrims" and hence very legitimate. Now, that I am in the state where it all started its kind of fun to look back at it. The very first account was written by one Mr. Winslow around December 1621 stating the following:

"Our corn did prove well, and God be praised, we had a good increase of Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good, but our peas not worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown. They came up very well, and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom. Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."

There you go, the very first thanksgiving expression from the new colony. There's also a nice urban myth that the first thanksgiving meal was poisoned thus killing the local indians (now that the colonists want profits from private property instead of communal sharing) who were invited to the feast. While Colonists poisioning Indians is true of some accounts (also deliberately inducing small pox to eliminate the natives) , I am not sure if it is true of Thanksgiving. But then, Who decides what is a true source of knowledge and which one isnt??

For myself, I just celebrate by having popcorn rather than the conformal turkey..


Shruthi said...
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Shruthi said...

Was a nice post..i did not know all the history attached to thanksgiving.Are you going someplace or are you at boston?

Paddy said...

Am in Boston. It was good talking to you Shruti!