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PostPosted: 19 Nov 2008, 12:42 
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Thank Journalist, Rather Than Pilgrims, For Thanksgiving Feast

ScienceDaily (Nov. 18, 2008) — Anne Blue Wills, assistant professor of religion at Davidson, explains that the current version of Thanksgiving was created by a journalistic crusader, and would have been unrecognizable to the Pilgrims it supposedly honors.

The holiday came about through fifty years of relentless promotion by Sarah Hale, editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book and Magazine. She promoted it in columns and stories in her magazine until President Abraham Lincoln finally bestowed it national recognition.

Wills emphasized that Thanksgiving was never a regular ritualized holiday during the Pilgrim era. Instead, it was an occasional event declared as needed by clergy to thank God for good fortune. Likewise, clergy also called parishioners to church for fasting days in response to adverse events. “Puritans emphasized that you should never presume on the will of God, so they never would have scheduled Thanksgivings,” she said.

What we now recognize as “the first Thanksgiving,” therefore, was simply an occasion for the Pilgrims to express their thanks to God for allowing them to kill enough game and gather enough harvest to survive the winter. True to Puritan character, the Pilgrims would have spent all day not in feasting, but in church contemplating the mercies of God’s covenantal love.

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