Sara-N-Dipity Place: Some hidden history of Thanksgiving
By Sara Appel-Lennon
SAN DIEGO–While researching Thanksgiving origins, I uncovered some hidden history. Many were taught that the Pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in 1620. The meal served only a small part of the celebration. Originally Thanksgiving focused on prayer to offer thanks for a bountiful harvest.
In Jewish tradition the festival of the harvest is called Succoth. It falls in September or October, the 15TH-22ND day of the seventh month of Tishrei of the lunar calendar. Many cultures including Jews, Greeks, Native American Indians, and the Puritans. observed the tradition of celebrating by giving thanks for their harvest around the same time as Succoth.
To this day Thanksgiving in Canada is celebrated on the second Monday in October to give thanks for the harvest.
During Succoth Jewish people build a three sided hut-succah, made from all natural materials with a roof which allows the stars to be seen. It is a mitzvah-commandment forJewish people– to eat their meals and sleep in the succah for one week. (dependent upon the weather)The purpose is two fold. Living in the succah for one week serves as a reminder of how God protected our ancestors when they wandered in the desert for 40 years after the exodus from Egypt. This reminder strengthens our faith that God is present in our lives.
Here is the Biblical reference to Succoth. “You shall sit in Sukkot (or Succot) for seven days, all citizens of Israel will sit in Sukkot (or Succot). In order that your generations shall know that I enabled the children of Israel to dwell in Sukkot (or Succot) when I brought them out of Egypt, I am the L-rd your G-d” (Vayikra 23:42-43, or in English, Leviticus 23:42-43). http://www.angelfire.com/pa2/passover/sukkot/sukkah.html
Another hidden historical fact concerns the Pilgrims and the Indians.
History books teach that the Pilgrims and the Indians shared a Thanksgiving meal together. The Wampanoag Indians befriended and taught the Pilgrims how to plant potatoes and tomatoes. Several of my resources indicated the Pilgrims stole land from the Indians and killed them. I leave it up to the reader to decide what to believe.
I find it interesting that the desire for domination has been with us for centuries and continues to be a dilemma today. As Jimi Hendrix once said, and I have paraphrased, in a previous article. “When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace. ”
Thanksgiving reminds me to count my blessings. Rabbi Martin Lawson, spiritual leader of Temple Emanu-El, said that Jews are asked to say 100 blessings daily. The words “thank you” mean so much and take little effort to express.
Thank you for reading my articles. May you all have a nurturing and safe Thanksgiving week-end.
Appel-Lennon is a San Diego-based freelance writer. Her email: email@example.com
Short URL: http://www.sdjewishworld.com/?p=851