Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Day To All Our Readers In The USA


Eddi Haskell at a Pilgrim Aboard the Mayflower

We want to wish all our readers in the United States a very happy Thanksgiving Day.

Many people do not know that Thanksgiving, celebrated today in the United States as an important National Holiday, is all about Native Americans helping the first English settlers to New England-- religious refugees called "The Pilgrims" -- survive their first winter in 1621.

The Pilgrims, who arrived on the sailing ship Mayflower, would not have survived without the kindness and generosity of Native Americans through their gifts of food, and knowledge on how to grow and hunt native crops and wildlife. The foods that are consumed for the holiday - roast turkey, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and other treats were all first introduced to the Pilgrims by them.

90 Native Americans Were The Guests of Honor At The First Thanksgiving Feast

The first Thanksgiving feast was attended by 53 Pilgrims, half of the original 100 who sailed for America a year earlier who had survived the journey, and about 90 Native Americans. The feast was not only a way for the deeply religious Pilgrims to thank God for their survival from that harsh, bitter winter by granting them a successful harvest -- but also a way of thanking the Native Americans, who were their guests of honor, for all their help. Unfortunately, the spirit of Thanksgiving would not continue as the Native Americans would suffer enormously at the hand of the European settlers in subsequent years.

The feast  lasted for three days and including sports, games, and competitions and was quite a party according to the written accounts. One popular legend, that beer was served at that feast, is unproven-- but widely used as an excuse by many to drink copious amounts of it on Thanksgiving Day.

To find out more about Thanksgiving, and how to visit the Mayflower in Second Life, see my blog post from this past Sunday:

http://eddihaskell.blogspot.com/2014/11/great-second-life-destinations.html



Freedom From Want
Norman Rockwell's Iconic Painting of Thanksgiving
Published in World War 2

The holiday is celebrated by Americans (and Canadians one month earlier) so that they may give thanks for all they have been given. The most widely played and unofficial national song for the holiday is "We Gather Together" which is a modern version of an old Dutch hymn - written in 1597 by Adrianus Valerius as "Wilt heden nu treden". The Pilgrims took refuge in Holland before they left for America- they very well may have heard this hymn then.

It's a beautiful song, and ecumenical in nature, so that people of all faiths my join in if they wish. I remember singing it in school every year for the holiday. You can hear it in the video below.

We Gather Together
The Unofficial National Hymn in the U.S.A. for Thanksgiving Day

We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known.
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing.
Sing praises to His Name; He forgets not His own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining His kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
The Lord, was at our side, all glory be Thine!

We all do extol Thee, Thou Leader in battle,
And pray that Thou still our Defender will be.
Let Thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!


If you are celebrating Thanksgiving today, either alone or with family or friends,  please have a great holiday.

Eddi Haskell (and Ryce Skytower)