It is interesting to learn about the origins of the Thanksgiving holiday, and to see how its meaning has changed over the years. The Pilgrims risked everything for the opportunity to start a new life in the New World. They did not know plants and climate of the land, and would have died were it not for the Indians teaching them how to survive in their new home. That first Thanksgiving was a true celebration of survival. They survived due to one key component that is never mentioned in this video – cooperation. It was the attitude of friendliness and brotherhood that allowed those pilgrims to survive. The Indians did not see the pilgrims as enemies – they saw them as friends, as their brothers and sisters. They helped them to survive because it was the right thing to do. The Pilgrims, once they were established, were in turn able to trade with the Indians.

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After that first celebration, Thanksgiving came to mean something slightly different. At first, it became a celebration of thanks for the ending of a drought – one that was believed to be answered by prayers. After America won its Independence, Washington declared it a day of national celebration, giving thanks for the founding of the new nation. After that, in 1863, Lincoln declared it a national holiday in the midst of the Civil War. It was a chance to bind Americans together in a day of thanks, despite being in the middle war.

Today we gather together to celebrate family. Those that are religious can also give thanks go God. However, it has recently taken on a new tradition – shopping. Capitalism has infiltrated this holiday – a holiday founded on the traditions of cooperation, community, family, bounty and hard work – replacing it with going out and shopping. “Black Friday” is about as anti-Thanksgiving as it gets. Instead of spending the day after being with family, Americans run out to Wal-mart to fight each other over the chance to buy cheap electronics made in China.

The Pilgrims were a group of honest, hardworking people who wanted prosperity for their community and peace with their neighbors. It is this idea that should be at the center of Thanksgiving celebrations today.

  • “The History of Black Friday.” The History of Black Friday. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. .
  • “Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln.” Thanksgiving Proclamation by Abraham Lincoln. Web. 04 Dec. 2014. .