Thanksgiving is a popular American holiday that evolved over the centuries since the Mayflower Pilgrims held the so-called First Thanksgiving after their first harvest in the New World, following their 1620 arrival.
However, Native Americans and European cultures had been holding similar harvest celebrations for centuries before the Pilgrims' arrival in the New World.
In October 1621, the Pilgrims' Thanksgiving was a three-day event attended by 53 Pilgrims and 90 Wampanoag tribal members. However, it took until the 1830s for New Englanders to begin celebrating the holiday on an annual basis.
In 1863,, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving a national holiday, as a special thank you for Union victories in Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that year..
For Native Americans, Thanksgiving is remembered as a National Day of Mourning. For the past 47 years, the Wampanoag band has gathered gathered on Cole's Hill in Plymouth, Massachusetts, to commemorate their mourning day. The Pilgrims were welcomed and assisted in the planting of the "three sisters" crops of corn, beans and squash by Native Americans. In the coming centuries, the New World immigrants and their descendants would buy or take many tribes' lands, bring new illnesses that destroyed many tribal populations and defeating many tribes in warfare.
For many in America, Thanksgiving remains the first major event of the holiday season but it is also a dangerous one due to cooking accidents and traffic fatalities
The turkey and portable deep fryers combine for a Thanksgiving dangers. Deep frying a turkey in several gallons of hot oil over 350 degrees which is as flammable as gasoline if the cooking oil vapors ignite. So a deep fryer should never be used in a houses or garage, or on or under a deck or inside any structure.
The Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year on the highways of America. Here are a few safety tips: Buckle up and make sure child restraints are secured tightly. Turn your headlights on all the time. Slow down and drive safe distances. Take into account driving conditions at all times.
The Thanksgiving holiday is also a time to count one's blessings and to give thanks for such blessings that we all enjoy.
There are many things to be thankful for.
American remains a country of wealth, prosperity and freedoms.
Many of us will spend time with family and friends celebrating the holiday.
The table spread in many households will feature a turkey or more as a primary dish. Hopefully, in west central Minnesota, it is most likely a Jennie-O Turkey Store product, raised, processed and distributed by the Willmar-based company.
The turkey industry remained stable this year with no significant outbreaks of the avian flu in Minnesota, which hit the state in 2015.
Also, this week is a time to be thankful for all in the agriculture industry, which provides plentiful produced in Minnesota and across the country. Our Thanksgiving dinner menu in 2017 will remain economical and plentiful for all consumers, to the degree that Pilgrims could not even imagine.
Finally, America is thankful for its people -from the Native Americans here first, to the Pilgrims and others of the 1600s to English, Scots, Welsh and others of the 1700s, to the many Europeans and Asians of the 1800s and many other immigrants and refugees of the 1900s and 2000s. They have all played a role in making America what it is today.
We all have plenty to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving remains a time for family, friends and food. The West Central Tribune wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.