Pretty much every agrarian culture has some form of a Harvest Celebration in the fall. It’s usually after the food has been brought in from the fields and before the real cold sits in. It’s the time when we celebrate the food we’ll have to last through the winter, and often look to start slaughtering the animals we’re not going to need and won’t want to feed through that same winter.

Our own American version of Thanksgiving had its genesis when our earliest Colonists worked together with the local Indians to grow and harvest enough food for their coming winter. We weren’t prepared for the alien soil, weather, and types of plants, but the Indians knew it well and helped us prepare. So we had the traditional Indian and Pilgrim feast that children all over America reenact in plays and stories.

We didn’t call that first one Thanksgiving at the time of course. And turkey as we know it was not on the menu. It was a three-day feast, celebration, and game playing extravaganza between around fifty Pilgrims and twice that number of Indians. They ate deer, geese, ducks, wild turkeys, and fish and played shooting and throwing games. Probably did some healthy races to burn off the calories too.

We celebrated these Thanksgivings on and off over the next couple centuries until the Civil War changed everything. President Lincoln ordered the official adoption of a Day of Thanksgiving to celebrate and remember what we’ve lost and gained. The toil and suffering, the triumph and joy. To thank the Most High God for the gifts He’s given us.

That was the first of the modern American Thanksgivings, and we have done this every year since. Thanksgiving has become one of our Big Seven Holidays, and opens the entire Holiday Season in America that stretches through to Christmas and New Years. An entire season dedicated to bringing families and friends together, to eat, drink, and be merry. It all starts with Thanksgiving.

So have a Happy Thanksgiving and an amazing Holiday Season. And please remember why we do.